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 Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority said it’s not surprised that a federal judge refused to issue a restraining order to block tolling of the Sakonnet River Bridge.
Because tolling wasn’t part of the original construction plan approved by the Federal Highway Administration, the state had to go back and amend its environmental impact statement. The Town of Portsmouth filed a lawsuit, saying the amended impact statement is flawed. Chairman for the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority, David Darlington, said he’s confident the paperwork was properly filed.
(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.