Letter: Tolls Are A Barrier To Economic Growth

Sen. Walter Felag writes a letter to the editor.


To the editor:

As another legislative session ends, the General Assembly erred in their , which will probably be erected late next summer, 2013. I voted for a floor amendment to eliminate this budget article from the budget and against the final FY13 budget which included the Sakonnet River bridge toll.

For the past 14 years as your State Senator, I have fought diligently against tolls on the Mt Hope and Sakonnet River Bridge. Unfortunately, our local East Bay Representatives and Senators were outnumbered.

In my speech on the Senate floor last night, I spoke about this unfair tax on my Tiverton constituents, who go over the bridge for work, appointments and family obligations. This toll is a barrier for all East Bay residents. Make no mistake; this is a tax on the East Bay residents. The East Bay residents pay enough taxes without a toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge. This burden should be shared with all residents of RI. Thank you to all who e-mailed or called regarding your objections.

Residents will be taxed at additional $50 to $60 because they will need an E-Zpass transponder to stay in RI ($20.95 interior or $33.04 exterior) plus maintain a $25 minimum prepaid toll amount.

RIDOT has not even initiated or completed an economic impact statement on how this toll will affect businesses in RI. We are putting the cart before the horse. How will this effect tourism in Newport and East Bay businesses? What is the traffic impact through Bristol/ Warren Route 136 for those individuals avoiding the tolls?

This toll idea needs a through comprehensive economic impact study before implementation and the governor should eliminate this toll.

Walter S. Felag, Jr.
RI State Senator, District 10
Tiverton, Warren & Bristol

Sunny Shores June 13, 2012 at 12:50 PM
This toll is so unfair to Aquidneck Island residents who will have to pay a toll/tax to use two of the three exits on/off the island. The new I-Way bridge should be turned over to the Bridge Authority and tolled. That would generate more than enough money for bridge repairs and evenly spread the cost. (I know it's federally funded and needs federal approval but it's crazy to force AI residents to bear this cost when no one else in the state is taxed this way) No one in this state has to pay tolls/ tax to get to their home except AI residents. Totally unfair!
Mike Nasiff June 13, 2012 at 08:27 PM
It's complete BULL .....how many people travel on and off AI daily for work... I for one do .....as many others ..... I actually don't think it will hurt the tourism though ....cause it certainly doesn't stop them from coming over the Npt Bridge....proof ....look at the backup on summer weekends, but take it easy on the locals that's all we are saying ..... it's bad enough the tolls on the Newport (Pell) bridge are in the stratosphere and may go higher!!
Mike Nasiff June 13, 2012 at 08:29 PM
PS ....thanks Sen Felag and I believe Dan Reilly was fighting this also ...thanks to him as well


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