The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority says it’s worried that a toll freeze on the Sakonnet River Bridge may violate promises the authority made in previous bond sales.
When the Turnpike and Bridge Authority put bonds up for sale, it made a promise to bond buyers that it would not take on assets that didn’t come with a revenue stream. That way, says Chairman David Darlington, the authority doesn’t get loaded down with bridges it can pay for. He says delaying tolls on the Sakonnet Bridge puts the Turnpike and Bridge Authority in conflict with those promises.
The Rhode Island House of Representations Wednesday passed a budget that includes the first repayment for money owed over the state’s losing investment in video-game maker 38 Studios. Taxpayers remain on the hook for a total of about 90 million dollars.
The town of Portsmouth is continuing to challenge the imminent imposition of tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge.
The town is appealing a federal court decision issued last week which allowed the tolling to proceed. Portsmouth town solicitor said they’ve asked the First Circuit Court of Appeals for an expedited ruling on their request for an injunction because the tolls are scheduled to start next month.
The House Finance Committee is slated Tuesday to consider a bill to block a toll planned for the Sakonnet River Bridge. The legislation would use a different approach to pay for bridge maintenance.
Legislation co-sponsored by state Representative John Edwards uses increased vehicle inspection fees and other sources to pay for keeping up bridges. The bill would also expand the oversight of the state Turnpike and Bridge Authority to cover all bridges longer than 700 feet.
The Tiverton Town Council meets Tuesday night to vote on joining Portsmouth and Bristol in challenging the tolls that will be placed on the Sakonnet River Bridge this summer. The seven-member Tiverton Town Council is expected to join the lawsuit.
Just about everybody in Tiverton uses the Sakonnet River Bridge and they’re not one bit happy about the prospect of paying a toll for the privilege starting July 1st.
The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority will hold a hearing Monday on restoring bus service to Tiverton. Tiverton hasn’t had bus service in nearly five years. It was suspended when weight limits were placed on the Sakonnet River Bridge.
(PROVIDENCE, RI) Governor Lincoln Chafee’s keeping mum on whether he would veto legislation that keeps tolls off the Sakonnet River Bridge. State Rep. John Edwards of Tiverton says he plans to introduce a bill that keeps the Sakonnet Bridge from transferring over to the state’s Turnpike and Bridge Authority.
Edwards calls the toll a tax and says the state should be able to pay for maintenance with general funds. Chafee says the state needs to pay for maintenance somehow and there are no easy decisions.