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Lawmakers Optimistic About No Toll on Sakonnet Bridge

The Special Legislative Commission to Study the Funding for East Bay Bridges met for the last time Wednesday.

While the Special Legislative Commission to Study the Funding for East Bay Bridges did not present a final solution at its last meeting Wednesday, lawmakers remained optimistic about removing a 10-cent toll from the Sakonnet River Bridge, reports The Providence Journal. 

Sen. Louis DiPalma told The Journal a final solution to fund continuing maintenance on the East Bay bridges, including the Sakonnet River Bridge, would not include a toll. 

However, other commission members are hoping to extend the 10-cent toll past the April 1 deadline in order to draft legislation, according The Providence Journal

The commission, co-chaired by Rep. Helio Melo (D-Dist. 64, East Providence) and Sen. Daniel Da Ponte (D-Dist. 14, East Providence), was established during the 2013 legislative session to allow lawmakers and state officials an opportunity to investigate all types of equitable and reliable funding mechanisms and strategies to support Rhode Island’s bridges.

Last year, the legislature approved the transfer of the Sakonnet River Bridge's ownership to the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA), who then authorized a 10-cent toll on the bridge which spans Tiverton and Portsmouth. 

Members of the public can find additional information and video of the commission’s previous hearings at Webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/bridgefunding.

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