On a 40-25 vote, the Rhode Island House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impose a 10-cent toll on the new Sakonnet River Bridge. The move comes after the House last week delayed plans for tolls on the bridge.
Lawmakers said they reversed course because a federal requirement bans the addition of new tolls once a bridge is substantially complete. One opponent of tolls, Tiverton Representative John Edwards, said he hopes the Sakonnet toll might still be eliminated in the future.
"I’m extremely disappointed. I thought we were going to have a period where we weren’t going to have any toll at all and we’re going to have a study commission. And unfortunately, the way the whole federal highway system works, they have to have some kind of toll in the interim so that they won’t be prevented to toll," said Edwards.
The measure passed by the House deletes a cap on raising tolls on the Newport Pell Bridge. It also calls for a study commission on funding bridge maintenance to report back to lawmakers next January.
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