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RITBA Will Not Increase Pell Bridge Tolls

The Newport bridge will not increase tolls on the Newport Pell Bridge on July 1 as originally planned.

Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) will not be increasing tolls on the Newport Pell Bridge on July 1.  In February, the board had by moderately increasing the cash and E-ZPass rates unless a separate new toll was approved by state lawmakers. 

On June 8 and 11, the R.I. House and R.I. Senate, respectively, passed the FY13 budget; and today, the Governor signed it.  Contained within is the institution of tolling on the newly rebuilt Sakonnet River Bridge.  Ownership of the Sakonnet Bridge will be transferred from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to RITBA, who will manage the tolling, maintenance and operations.  The Jamestown Bridge will also become RITBA’s property and will remain toll-free. 

“As a result of the budget being signed into law today, RITBA will hold the price of the toll to current rates,” said David A. Darlington, chairman.  “We made that promise in our February vote, which was taken after a months-long period of public scrutiny of our financial and long-range bridge maintenance plans.  We thank Governor Chafee, the leaders of the General Assembly, and the membership for entrusting the maintenance of the four bridges – all vital transportation structures – to the care and keeping of RITBA.  We pledge to continue RITBA’s tradition of excellent maintenance to ensure that the bridges are safe.”

Darlington stated that the toll collection system on the Sakonnet River Bridge will be similar to the new open road tolling (ORT) system about to make its debut on the Newport Pell Bridge.  Later this month, drivers with E-ZPass transponders can use the new E-ZPass-only lanes and drive through the toll plaza without stopping.  For the Sakonnet River Bridge, an all-electronic toll collection system is being contemplated.  Cameras mounted on the toll plaza will take photos of license plates, and motorists who today pay by cash would instead receive invoices in the mail for their outstanding tolls. 

“Open road tolling on the Newport Pell Bridge will help reduce waiting times in the cash lanes and is faster and more convenient overall,” said Darlington.  “Through a public-private partnership, RITBA is providing an improved toll collection system as requested by the public.”

RITBA does not receive state or federal monies.  All maintenance on the Newport Pell and Mount Hope Bridges is funded by toll revenue.  After two years of public discussion and formal study, the board voted on September 8, 2009 to increase tolls for the first time in the 43-year history of the Newport Pell Bridge.

G3 June 16, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Wow, really great news... "You can keep your arm.... but we're taking the leg"
coven53 June 16, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Why dont you guys take the money that your scamming off of people by paying $4.00 per axel and fix the roads in Newport! BROADWAY IS FALLING APART AND DAMAGING ALL POLICE CRUISERS THAT RUN UP AND DOWN THE STREET ALONG WITH THE GENERAL POPULATION.FIX THE ROADS CAUSING DAMAGE TO PEOPLES VEHICLES!! THANK YOU
coven53 June 16, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Fix the Broad way roads Now falling apart.PELL BRIDGE HAS BEEN PAID OFF ALONG TIME.TAKE THE MONEY FROM ALL THE DRUNK TOURIST THAT YOU ARE FINING AT THE COURT HOUSE TO PAY FOR UP KEEP ON THE BRIDGE AND UP KEEP OF ROADS IN NEWPORT.THERE IS PLENTY OF MONEY BEING GENERATED FROM THE FINES IN newport without over taxing the local people!
Will Museler June 17, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Why is the RITBA still allowed to exist? With all gas taxes funding RIDOT instead of the general fund, RITBA is no longer necessary. Remove it's layer of bureaucracy and allow RIDOT to manage the bridges and roads of this State.
coven53 June 17, 2012 at 02:48 PM
That would be a great concept taking gas taxes to repair the roads and bridges but have you notice where the money is not going not into the roads or bridges .Have you notice the gas station in portsmouth shell that was there 36 years gone out of business,Have you notice the new gas station in portsmouth on east main open less than one year out of business,Another one sunoco four mile compr newport, citco portsmouth.These are some serious times my friends when gas station owners can not keep there doors open to sell the gas to get the taxes to pay for the roads and bridges!We need to generate money that works to fix these hidious Newport roads now!We need to clean up the garbage on the street fine the drunks trouble makers, plus all the ticket fines,parking meters and $4.00 per axel for Newport bridge.There is no reason what so ever why there should be one bump from sunoco to washington square with that amount of revenue comming in each day. Maybe it should be investigated to see just how much money Newport makes from its parking meters,bridge tolls,court fines ect....
Bobby Oliveira June 18, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Will, You can't take kickbacks directly. You need a go-between. Say hello to go-between central, aka RITBA. (Normally, I wouldn't care. However, they are now affecting my business. Therefore, my ox on the dinner plate, I guess we're going to have to tell some secrets.) RIDOT, under current leadership, is also no prize. What we really need is a re-design ending up with a body that has too many hands in it. That will at least keep the bribery to a minimum.
Roscommon June 19, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Wonderful logic expressed here. It solve everything if we did away with the Bridge authority and by extension the RIDOT. The writers probably would not recognize themselves as anarchist but that is what they are. We are all responsible for the state of RI, although I am not a native and beg off complete responsibility. Hand wringing and accusations will do no good. Good roads and bridges require maintenance which requires money. Our gas tax is 10 cents higher than neighboring Massachusetts so don't look to that avenue. We continue to cave in to the citizens and their craven representatives of Bristol, etc when it comes to restoring an equitable toll on the Mt. Hope Bridge so don't look there. The interstates are falling apart with their bridges because the entity that Built them, "Big Government" is a bad word. No, we are own worst enemies.

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