By CATHERINE WELCH
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Representative Jay Edwards of Tiverton has filed legislation to make sure the new Sakonnet River Bridge remains toll free. The bill stems from a budget proposed last year by former Governor Don Carcieri to charge tolls on the bridge.
The bill requires the Sakonnet Bridge to remain under control of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, instead of shifting it over to the state's Turnpike Authority, which is authorized to collect tolls.
Not knowing what to expect from Governor Lincoln Chafee's first budget, Edwards says his legislation protects the bridge from becoming the governor's cash register.
"Well, with the financial woes that Rhode Island finds itself in I'm sure they're going to be looking for anything and everything they can to make up the budget deficits," says Edwards. "And tolling the bridge is a pretty good option, I guess."
In a letter to the House Finance Committee, the head of RIDOT didn't directly endorse a toll on the Sakonnet Bridge, but did urge lawmakers to keep all transportation revenue options open.
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