Letter to the Editor: Bridge Tolls "Unacceptable"

Just a letter that doesn't sound quite as shrill. I'm having fun, not taking myself too seriously, revealing just a little, and not getting played like some are. This is a good time.

Dear Editors,

As the snow falls outside and real life strolls on, it is easy to forget that some of us are fighting the Sakonnet Bridge Toll through a variety of methods.  These efforts became intensified when we found out our hope were to rest on a Bill filed by Representative Edwards.

Unfortunately for the Representative, no one up in the General Assembly has forgotten how he conducted himself in his rookie year.  Kissing up to Congressman Cicilline last year did not change that.

So for the rest of us who understand this reality, that means fighting as our mentors taught us how to.  For me, that means coming to upstate New York and Vermont to ply my timeshare buy, sell, rent, and trade skills.  Yes, I could have stayed back in Newport barely getting by just paying bills, but what glory can be had from that?  Hoping that someone else will “take care of things” will not result in success.  Alternating between the Adirondacks and Vermont just might.

If you want to do interesting things, you must rise above your comfort zone and take chances.  For me, the only way I can get the money to file a lawsuit to fend off the tolls is by doing this.  I even took the time to put up a website, FreeSakonnetBridge.org, and just listed a project on Rockethub.  Turns out I am having a great time and the financial part may actually be working.

The proposed Bridge Toll has become a very personal issue for me.  On the day of the  fiscal melt down in 2008, I watched my retirement savings disappear.  Over the next three years, I would lose everything else to the financial crisis three times.  Finally, after building a timeshare stable from literally nothing, I own over 100 weeks now, the Governor has decided via a Bridge Toll to possibly take all that hard work away again.  Excuse me if I find this to be an unacceptable circumstance.

Tourists are tired of being nickled and dimed. For many, this will keep them away.  It is the ultimate nose/face scenario.  The effect of the tolls will be to reduce more in sales tax revenue then they will collect in toll revenue.

Therefore, I took an extended business trip.  For others, because there will be a fight in the General assembly even if I am successful, it means extra shifts and time spent away from loved ones.  This economy was tough enough before the Governor decided to add this fight as well.  Thankfully, I am not the only one fighting.

Just because the weather has made the fight quiet, do not think the fight does not carry on.




Robert T. Oliveira

Temporarily in Clark Mills, NY


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Robert Oliveira February 27, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Naome, the attempt at a straw man was kind of weak. I have never argued that I pay too much tax. I have argued that I pay my fair share. I have argued repeatedly that due to overall tax collection going down that tolls will be bad for the building trades, our schools, working families and businesses overall. I have no tolerance for the Tea Party and would much rather refer to them by their old name: the KKK. Their efforts here are only going to waste time and waste money.
Jim L February 27, 2013 at 03:12 PM
I don't know why anyone thinks the tea party comes into this at all, thats just bull. the petitions that forced the state to take another look at this was signed by everyday citizens from all walks of life. Folks who don't realy care about payiny .83 cents for tolls but folks that know the economic impact of impopsing a barrier towards folk who work AND play here. Thats the heart of this issue and to bend it any other way is just decietfull
Robert Oliveira February 27, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Please deal with reality. STOP is basically a Tea Party organization. As such, it can only hurt the effort. The PBA is basically a Country Club Republican organization. As such, it can hope to make a deal but will probably get played. The state hasn't taken another look at anything. The plan from Day 1 was a toll and that's the plan now. Only a coalition made up of the building trades, union folks, teachers, and forward thinking businesses will prevail at the proper time. That time is not yet since the Executive is still exercising power it does not rightfully own. That in turn allows the Legislative to avoid exercising power, why bills are mistimed now, it should be. The petition only caused theater and did not change any thought process. This is especially true for the Executive Branch. Please grow up.
Jim L February 27, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Dear BOBO oliveria, thank you for the fool tag The coalition you speak of already been made up and spoken, thats what the Petitions did and no matter how much you and your executive branch buddys knock it the people have spoken, they know that we were handed a bill of good and they are sick of it, You and your like finally got called on putting your hand in the cookie jar instead of doing your jobs I see you and your ilk never said a word on here, never appearred until WE THE PEOPLE started to be taken seriously. This fight will go to the GA , the Ri supreme court Washington and any other place that it takes to remove a tax just placed on the yoke of 85% of Newport county residents, sorry dude, this is america and we have the right to repair wrongs done, By the vote and by the law
Robert Oliveira February 27, 2013 at 04:30 PM
What fantasy world are you living on?? There's no such coalition as you cannot identify one member of the building trades or a union official working on the issue. Thanks for making my point.
Naome Lixes February 28, 2013 at 01:19 AM
"I have never argued that I pay too much tax. I have argued that I pay my fair share." Really. Perhaps you might parse the previous comment, in that regard: Robert Oliveira 5:17 pm on Monday, February 25, 2013 Stanley, based on the number of timeshares I own in RI, I pay plenty. It sounds like you're crying poor, with money in the bank. Tolls are a regressive tax. People on vacation are spending discretionary funds. Tourists coming to stay in your timeshares have to arrive on the island somehow. Capturing revenue from that traffic won't drive them to farther shores, to save four bucks. The idea that bridge tolls are bad for tourism and would depress sales tax revenues is an actual strawman. This is about armchair city planners and economists without portfolio ducking fees. In short, you're just another cheap landlord, Rob.
Robert Oliveira February 28, 2013 at 03:23 AM
Once again, we are faced with a basic choice: We can believe what the tourists are telling us and in turn what that means for overall tax revenue or we can believe what the supporters of the tolls are assuming. I believe the tourists.
Donna February 28, 2013 at 01:23 PM
Many of my friends and all of my relatives live on the South Coast. They will put a stop to their day trips or nights out in newport if its going to cost them $8, or even $6 (with the non-resident discount). Everyone come to my house for Christmas? Nah, lets go to your cousin's. The kids have a _________ (baseball game, band concert, awards ceremony, what have you). That'll be 8 bucks a pop if the grandparents want to come. I didn't choose to live on Block Island or Nantucket. I chose the next town over from Tiverton. I can't think of a coastal town that does NOT have a bridge. Why should this one be special? (Besides the State's mismanagement...)
Gerry Jones March 01, 2013 at 02:31 AM
bobby, the only one living in a fantasy world is you. You set up a website that no one will look at? Why? You have nothing new to offer here so go away. You were a nut-job when you were in Tiverton; sadly nothing has changed... This letter is nothing more than a very sad attempt by you to be relevant in a fight that you are a year late to. I bet you'll even try to claim credit when we're successful. Sad, very sad.
Robert Oliveira March 01, 2013 at 02:45 AM
Ummm Gerry, that's not what the numbers say or the emails reveal. Kinda hard to be successful when your bill is already dead. Funny, unlike most of you, the projects I worked on in Tiverton went just fine. Not as good as Fall River, but there was actually structure there. A lot of you haven't changed: lots of talk, lots of crying, lots of complaining, lots of being dismissive and then nothing.
Robert Oliveira March 01, 2013 at 02:57 AM
P.S. The site has averaged 50 visits per day for the last 3 days - which is about the average for the month. Imagine what will happen when the marketing begins. (Then again, Gerry is one of those people who forever complains about being shut out of Smith Hill. Therefore, much like his similar compatriots, he won't have much effect on what goes on there. Like other people, I'm sure he makes the pro-toll forces feel very comfortable.)
Gerry Jones March 01, 2013 at 03:45 AM
The only thing that hasn't changed is you, bobby. Sadly you are still boasting about things that never came to pass and talking about things that you have no real knowledge of. Timeshares???? who the heck buys 100 weeks of timeshares??? I guess you're a real financial Wiz. Just like you're a political guru, too. BTW, the only thing the emails reveal is that those of us in Tiverton who knew you then will not be fooled by you again. Crawl back under your rock, bobby.
4thgenerationIslander March 01, 2013 at 03:49 AM
Please forgive in advance if this has been suggested previously (I plead guilty to having merely scanned through the many comments). Is there a reason the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations has not erected Toll Booths on 95S and/or 95N - collecting at One (1), or both ends of the State; i.e., entering or leaving the State? Just as many other States do for driving the 'North East Corridor'; wether the tolls are for 'road usage', 'travel tax', D.O.T, it is all the same. The tolls collected for merely passing through some States enables the upkeep and maintenance of existing roadways, Tunnels, Freeways, Parkways, etc. (Not to mention expansion projects). The 'road usage' toll could be minimal as the amount of traffic passing through the State would surely surpass the traffic quota traveling over the Sakonnet Bridge. Thereby, collecting monies needed for that bridges erection and subsequent up keep. Would it not be beneficial to the citizens of the entire State if our elected officials stopped the practice of coming at their own citizens with the predetermined mindset of confrontation rather than collusion?
Robert Oliveira March 01, 2013 at 03:58 AM
How does taking me on resuscitate a dead bill?? Inquiring minds would like to know. Even if I'm wrong, your bill is still dead. If I were you, I'd be fixing that if I could. But, as we know from past experience - anybody remember the 24 hour waiting period bill?? - you can't. How's it feel to want yet again?
Robert Oliveira March 01, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Numbers don't lie. I'd love to accept that award, but I'm not the one pushing around a dead bill. This will end for you as it always does. (Notice he never argues any of the merits)
Robert Oliveira March 01, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Once again, nothing specific is mentioned. Meanwhile, if you call a couple of Chambers of Commerce, they're not exactly on board with this bill. Funny, since they should be slam dunks and lean conservative. Joe forgets that folks can use the phone to check on his homework. Most of it is incomplete. The Pro Toll forces should be again be pleased that Joe and his ilk are against them since the Tea Party has a hard work allergy. By the way Joe, it's grandeur- you know, like when you can't exactly pass the Dream Act, but you and your friends hope big enough that you still get all the pieces through. Guess that was another delusion.
Tiverton Dad March 01, 2013 at 07:25 PM
Islander, while the kids are squabbling in the sandbox, I'll answer your question. I95 is a federal highway and therefore under the control of the highway administration. The way I understand it, there are a limited number of permits issued for tolls on federal highways, and they don't become available very often. When they do become available, there's a lot of competition from other states.
4thgenerationIslander March 01, 2013 at 08:21 PM
Tiverton Dad: I thank you for your recognition and reply to my posting! Please understand that I added to these comments in the hopes of placing a 'peaceable' idea. At the very least, any thought coming from a place of collusion which is brought to 'the table' (viable or not) is the only process which may enlighten the thinking of others and change the course of outcome. One never knows where a mere thought or idea may lead to a greater solution. Again, thank you for your speedy reply and recognition.
Robert Oliveira March 02, 2013 at 03:32 AM
Let's be even more specific: The Finance Cmte's schedule is out for March. Looks like the cart is even further ahead of the horse.
Jim L March 02, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Mr Oliveira, where did you find the schedule?
Robert Oliveira March 02, 2013 at 03:59 PM
On the left hide side of the page, click Finance and you can review the 20 posted agendas one at a time. http://status.rilin.state.ri.us/agendas.aspx
Robert Oliveira March 02, 2013 at 04:09 PM
2 things of note, by the numbers: 1. Rep. Edwards has had 7 bills heard in Committee thus far. 6 of the 7 have been held for further study. He should get his second win when HEW hears his Irish Heritage month Bill on March 6th. 2. On February 26th, Reps. Edwards, Lima, and Gallison filed House 5466. It tries to do Legislatively what a lawsuit would do Judicially. Therefore, I support the bill but have already been told, don't expect much. Funny that the bill was filed late last week and it never gets mentioned in over 200 bridge comments on Patch. Really sounds like STOP and the PBA have their act together.
John harris March 03, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Mr/Ms East side, do you live on the east side of Aquidneck Island or the East Side of Providence - for the most part an affluent part of RI. If you live in the latter, then you do not understand the impact that this toll will have. We Islanders understand that monies will be required to maintain the bridge as well as the Pell, Jamestown, and Mount Hope bridges. Unfortunately our State Representation over the past years failed in their responsibilities to use the revenues for their intended purposes. Instead they mismanaged the funds and used the monies to bandaid other items. Had the monies been used for their intended purposes - road and bridge maintenance, the Sakonnet River bridge would not have been in need of replacement so early in its lifetime. That said, our representation should used the tax monies generate for their intended purposes and quit taking from one acount to bail out another. Thinl of the situation that you would be in in your own family finaces if you followed that same paractice. There have been a number of viable and practicle ways already suggested for funding the maintenance of the bridge(s) and the final burden should not be placed on the people and businesses of Aquidneck Island. If you disagree, then when the economy of Aquidneck Island begins to suffer (and it has begun with just the threat of a toll) and toll revenues dwindle, how do you propose to make up the revenue stream?
Jim L March 03, 2013 at 05:20 PM
The Newport County chamber of Commerce is one of he first places i went into in Middletown,> Woman in there said they wanted NOTHING to do withit! Tried to discuss what tolls could mean to the local economy , the federals jobs and the Navy. She then told me that discussion's were happening with the navy for a "special" rate, Why is the Navy any better than another voter in Newport County? If thats the case shouldn't Veterans get that rate to? How many of us on the island either signed up or were drafted, We don't count? If tolls were going to be that good for all why back in April was this even said to me? Also the woman who said this said lived in Jamestown and she paid TOLLS, I believe when she took the job or bught her house she KNEW there was a toll involved , While the other 68,000 or so people using the Sakonnett bridge NEVER have paid a toll. How about next we put a separete propery tax on all the folks who send their kids to private schools and use that money for public schools!!!! Seems about the same to me!
Robert Oliveira March 04, 2013 at 02:29 AM
While Jim has a right to be alarmed, that's not the Chamber of Commerce he should be worried about. Once again, the lack of experience, which leads to a lack of homework, shared by both STOP and the PBA comes to light. Fear not good citizen. That shall soon change.
Nicole March 23, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Yet, people on the Vineyard tend to work ON THE VINEYARD. Also, when they chose to live there, they were well aware of the cost of ferrying back and forth to the mainland...it was never sprung on them as this toll would be the people of Aquindneck Island and surrounding areas. Not a good example there, nmb.
Nicole March 25, 2013 at 10:44 PM
Mark Wyman March 25, 2013 at 11:27 PM
Bobby it should read the drop out city and you did not do that. The person who did that was Dr. Irving Fradkin. You must have a terrable selfesteam problem having to lie to make yourself feel so important. If you were involved with the politicians you should hang your head in shame. They ran the City of Fall River into the ground and to this day it still has not recovered.
Robert Oliveira March 26, 2013 at 12:54 PM
Shill, Dr. Fradkin asked me to chair that because he was uncomfortable with the political process. Do I really have to post Fall River City Council meeting minutes now??
Naome Lixes March 26, 2013 at 06:37 PM
"He's well known for his Delusions of Granger" - Jethro If you meant Grainger, the source to get a shinier tool box, that's one thing. If you meant grandeur, that's a word used when fools want to illustrate their prowess. Tool or Fool, it's a wonder you ever got on the Tiverton ballot. I couldn't write a village idiot character better, from scratch.


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