RITBA Spent $5 Million to Collect Sakonnet Tolls

And the tolls will likely be eliminated in the state budget.

Crews installing the toll collection equipment in June of 2013. (Patch file photo)
Crews installing the toll collection equipment in June of 2013. (Patch file photo)
The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority has spent about $5 million to collect tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge that will likely be eliminated for good as state lawmakers prepare to put the wraps on the state budget.

The Associated Press reported that a RITBA spokeswoman said it cost between $4.6 million and $5 million to install toll collection devices that read E-ZPass transponders and photograph license plates on the bridge. So far, with a 10-cent placeholder toll lawmakers set up last year after failing to reach a final decision, the authority has collected $677,500. Nearly a quarter million remains uncollected from drivers who do not have transponders.

Tiverton House Rep. John Edwards said the authority jumped the gun when they installed the equipment.

"They shouldn't have," he told the AP.

The details of the state budget are expected Thursday night at a House Finance Committee hearing. In it, tolls on the bridge are eliminated.

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.

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.
cheryl rocha June 06, 2014 at 10:30 AM
Ill be waiting for my reimbursement. Stupidest thing ever leave it to RI to make only the locals pay while all the out of state drivers came over for free . (Unless they had a transponder) .Who didn't see this as just another screwed up idea
Linda June 06, 2014 at 01:23 PM
Was there any doubt? It is RI Our lawmakers have no, none, zero nada common sense.
Randy June 06, 2014 at 07:24 PM
Unfortunately they don't have a date for when they finished putting in the tolls but at $677,500 collected for one year that is less then 200 cars per day or less then 100 rounds trips in which they collected. That number of vehicles seems very low.
islandgirl1 June 07, 2014 at 02:00 PM
5 mil for some scaffolding & cameras. I don't know why I am surprised.


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