Saying in Article 20 of the governor’s budget represents an unfair burden on Aquidneck Island and is poorly designed, Rep. Daniel P. Reilly (R-Portsmouth, Middletown, Newport) is calling for the toll proposal to be removed, according to a Statehouse press release.
Included in the fiscal 2013 budget that is to be considered by the General Assembly in the coming weeks is a proposal to have and the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridges, which are owned and maintained by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.
This proposal authorizes the RITBA to implement a toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge, and as the entity with sole responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the bridges under its control, would have absolute control over funds collected.
“I am opposed to the implementation of any tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge,” Reilly said in the release. “Worse still is the idea of empowering the RITBA to put tolls on the bridge and assume complete responsibility for it and not even allow the affected communities to be adequately represented. The RITBA will have complete control over a vital piece of the East Bay infrastructure, power to establish, collect and spend toll revenue, and fundamental fairness requires that the affected communities be represented and receive at least one appointment to RITBA. This proposal is flawed and inequitable and it should be withdrawn.”
The full text of Article 20 and the FY 2013 appropriations act is available athttp://www.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText12/HouseText12/H7323.pdf.
For more information regarding the RITBA, please visit http://www.ritba.org/.