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RITBA Board Votes to Raise Pell Bridge Tolls

The board also voted to rescind the toll changes, which are effective July 1, should the Rhode Island General Assembly pass legislation in this session that would provide RITBA with “an alternative and sufficient source of revenue.”

Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority board of directors voted today during its monthly board meeting for as well as a request of the Rhode Island General Assembly to allow RITBA to set toll rates for the Mount Hope Bridge. 

The rates that were approved by the board are  The added revenue, RITBA says, will help pay for the $250 million needed to fund RITBA’s capital projects in the 10-year Renewal and Replacement Plan. 

Importantly, the board also voted to rescind the toll changes on the Pell Bridge, which are effective July 1, should the Rhode Island General Assembly pass legislation in this session that would provide RITBA with “an alternative and sufficient source of revenue.” 

Last month, the board had tabled a vote on a toll increase at the request of R.I. Department of Transportation Director Michael Lewis, who is a voting RITBA board member.  Since that January 18 meeting, the Governor has announced his support for legislation to transfer the ownership of the Sakonnet River Bridge and the Jamestown Verrazano Bridge to RITBA and to toll the former.  The plan also includes the possibility of tolling I-95 at exit 3.

“The two bridges in our care require significant repair and maintenance work to ensure that they remain safe,” said David Darlington, chairman of the board, in a release “We believe it’s important to allow drivers impacted by the new rates a sufficient amount of time to plan their budgets for the new toll structure.   Should the Turnpike and Bridge Authority be mandated to add tolls to other properties and that toll revenue suffices for all the assets in our care, then the tolls on the Newport Pell Bridge will automatically remain at their current levels.”

In October, RITBA held four meetings on Aquidneck Island, gathering opinions from businesses and residents about the feasibility of reinstituting tolls on the Mount Hope Bridge and increasing toll rates on the Newport Pell Bridge. 

Darlington explained that a large contingent of the public support re-tolling the Mount Hope Bridge because they believe that Newport Pell Bridge users unfairly bear the revenue burden and that parity is overdue. 

DownTown February 09, 2012 at 06:42 AM
There are over 600 bridges in RI and the only ones they want to place a toll on are in the East Bay. The Washington bridge in Providence has been rebuilt more times than I can remember but they don't want to toll that one.
Charles February 09, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Daryl & Julie, you have to understand, Aquidneck Island is Providence's (and the State's) wallet. After all, isn't everybody in Newport rich, and don't they all live in mansions? ;)
Gordnfreeman February 09, 2012 at 03:04 PM
@Charles they seem to think that
DownTown February 09, 2012 at 03:23 PM
If you took the amount of state money coming into Bristol & Aquidneck counties versus what is paid out by the same area in income and sales tax I wager you'd find we are being sucked dry by the rest of the state.
Mrs. B February 09, 2012 at 05:28 PM
During the last election go around didn't our East Bay GA reps promise not to put tolls on these bridges. What happened to that?

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