Politics
8:26 am
Tue June 11, 2013

House Committee Considering Alternative to Sakonnet River Toll

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.

Proposed legislation would pay for the Sakonnet River Bridge with an increase in vehicle inspection fees.
Proposed legislation would pay for the Sakonnet River Bridge with an increase in vehicle inspection fees.
Credit Courtesy RI DOT

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.

Critics like Edwards say adding tolls to the Sakonnet River Bridge will hurt small businesses in the towns near the span linking Portsmouth and Tiverton. The lawmaker said he’s trying to use a statewide approach for bridge maintenance, rather than having one area bear the brunt of the cost.

A number of other bills will also be considered by House Finance, including one to eliminate the state sales tax. House Speaker Gordon Fox said he doesn’t support that legislation since the state lacks another way to make up the revenue.

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