RI Turnpike Authority: May Need To Raise Pell Bridge Tolls

Mar 19, 2014

The head of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority is warning lawmakers that if they extend a toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge, then it may need to return the bridge to the state.

In a letter to lawmakers authority chairman David Darlington said pushing the expiration of the Sakonnet’s 10-cent toll from April 1st to July 1st may force the authority to consider returning the Sakonnet and Jamestown bridges to the state and raise tolls on the Newport Pell Bridge.

Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority said it might need to raise tolls on Newport Pell Bridge and give the Sakonnet and Jamestown bridges to the state.
Credit Ryan T. Conaty

Lawmakers are looking at a transportation bill that raises $1 billion dollars in ten years. It includes revenue from the Department of Transportation’s budget, gas taxes and creates a temporary surcharge at the DMV. Darlington said much of that money will be shifted from one pot to another. “I think unfortunately the plan that’s in place today borrows from Peter to pay Paul,” said Darlington. “They’re taking money that already exists in the general fund and moving it to the transportation fund.”

Darlington is urging lawmakers to move quickly, saying delays put the authority’s bond rating in jeopardy.

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