Rhode Island Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello said that the proposed state budget to be unveiled Thursday will include no tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge.
It is not clear how there will be no toll nor what's the status of the widely-discussed infrastructure plan proposed by a group of Aquidneck Island legislators that would have dramatically changed the way the state's roads and bridges are funded and maintained.
“It’s ultimately going to be a very good budget, not without any sacrifice, but I believe the budget is one that overall, people are going to be very pleased with,” Mattiello told the Providence Journal.
In recent weeks, it was increasingly expected that the toll issue would end up being addressed in the state budget rather than specific legislation despite the Senate voting in favor of the infrastructure bill last month. That bill called for a Transportation Infrastructure Fund as a restricted receipt account within the Rhode Island Intermodal Surface Transportation Fund. Additionally, ownership of the Sakonnet River and Mount Hope bridges would be transferred to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (DOT) and the ability to toll those bridges would be revoked.
The bill further required all funds and revenue generated by the establishment of the uninsured motorist identification database be deposited into the Transportation Infrastructure Fund.