Tuesday, May 15, 2012
State officials told the crowd that fees on the Mount Hope or Sakonnet River bridges are unavoidable to maintain the spans.
Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority Chairman David Darlington hadn't yet made it through the second slide of his presentation when the questions started. East Bay and Aquidneck Island residents peppered Darlington and Department of Transportation Director Michael Lewis with pointed questions and comments, most opposing proposed tolls on the Mount Hope and Sakonnet River bridges, throughout a forum last night at the Burnside Building on Hope Street in Bristol. The response was not an unexpected development, Darlington said. Residents have come out in force at previous public hearings on the proposal that would bring tolls to the Mount Hope Bridge for the first time since 1998. The fees to cross the bridge — if the General Assembly …
Monday, May 14, 2012
A forum at the Burnside Building tonight at 7 addresses concerns over proposed fees for the Mount Hope and Sakonnet River bridges.
Since 1998, Rhode Islanders — especially those on the East Bay — have had the option to get onto Aquidneck Island without paying the tolls the Newport Bridge charges. The free ride could soon be coming to an end and crossing onto the island may soon cost drivers money regardless of the route they take. The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority hopes so. The authority — which already approved raising rates on the Newport Pell Bridge — has proposed adding fees to the Mount Hope and Sakonnet River bridges. The tolls would range from 52 cents to $3.25 each way. The Newport bridge is scheduled to increase from $4 to $5 for cash-paying drivers. Those using an E-Z pass pay less than $1. Residents have voiced strong opposition to the plan and…
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Rep. Dan Gordon says he will reject any legislation to collect tolls off the Mount Hope Bridge.
The following is from a press release issued by Rep. Dan Gordon (Dist. 71-Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton) on Wednesday. This morning, the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority in a vote of 2-1, agreed to raise the cost of crossing the Pell Newport Bridge from $4 to $5, effective as of July 1. Also, most notably, the resolution passed by the authority proposes to set a toll rate on the Mount Hope Bridge and refers to a proposal by Governor Lincoln Chafee to toll the new Sakonnet River Bridge. "I am adamantly opposed to the entire resolution," wrote Rep. Dan Gordon in the press release. "Raising tolls during the height of the tourist season on the Pell Bridge will do nothing but further starve the tourism economic engine of …
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
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.”
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority board of directors voted today during its monthly board meeting for new toll rates for the Newport Pell Bridge 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 $1.00 per crossing for residents with a RI E-ZPass and $5.00 per crossing for cash and undiscounted E-ZPass. 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 …
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Residents continue to voice opposition to this plan even after the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority tabled its talks Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority board of directors voted unanimously to table a discussion on a proposal to ask the General Assembly to approve tolls on the Mount Hope Bridge. The board voted to postpone this discussion until its next meeting on Feb. 8. However, local residents are still voicing opposition to this proposal. The following comments were made Wednesday on Portsmouth Patch's Facebook page, when we asked: Do you think there should be tolls on the Mount Hope Bridge? So... they took the toll booths away, just so they could put new ones up again after a few years? — Brian Killavey It's a ridiculous resurrection of an all time waste of funds and let's cause more traffic back ups, especially in the …
Friday, January 13, 2012
The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority will meet Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 8:30 a.m. at the Jamestown Philomenian Library, 26 North Road.
Friday, January 13, 2012
The following is from a press release issued by the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority: The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority board of directors will meet for its monthly board meeting on Wednesday Jan. 18, and is expected to vote on new toll rates for the Newport Pell Bridge, as well as a request of the Rhode Island General Assembly to allow RITBA to set toll rates for the Mount Hope Bridge. In October, RITBA spent considerable time gathering opinions from businesses and members of the public about the feasibility of re-instituting tolls on the Mount Hope Bridge and increasing toll rates on the Newport Pell Bridge. “RITBA must set appropriate rates for the Newport Pell Bridge so that we can prepare for the long process…
Monday, October 10, 2011
Prudence Island residents share how they feel about the proposed toll for the Mount Hope Bridge.
Prudence Island resident Valerie Bachini travels on ferry, over water and over the Mount Hope Bridge five days a week just to take her children to public school in Portsmouth. If a new toll were placed on the Mount Hope Bridge, the mother of two says it would be more than an inconvenience for her. "I'm against it," Bachini said Friday while riding the Prudence Island Ferry back home. Bachini's two young children both attend Melville Elementary School in Portsmouth. The town covers the costs for the ferry and Bachini says the proposed toll is not "a lot of money." But would Prudence Island residents be responsible for paying it to get to town? Prudence Island residents are, in fact, Portsmouth residents. Prudence Island inhabitants pay a …
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Bristol business owners and nonprofit directors are alarmed about adding a toll to the Mount Hope Bridge.
Many Bristol business owners and nonprofit managers are in opposition to a proposed toll reinstatement on the Mount Hope Bridge in fear that a toll will decrease tourism and hurt the local economy. "The Mount Hope Bridge is surely an economic/business lifeline for this peninsula," says Paper Packaging and Panachestore owner Linda Arruda. "It is truly a 'local' conduit for those who live in the East Bay and on Aquidneck Island who shop and do business throughout the East Bay and in Bristol itself." Karen Binder, executive director of Blithewold, in particular is worried about how the tolls could affect tourism and the number of people who visit the mansion. "Any tax or toll can impact tourism," Binder says. "Especially in Bristol, where the…
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Laura Mello of Mello's Farm Stand says she's concerned about a loss of business if tolls are approved for Mount Hope Bridge.
The owner of a small, family-run farm stand says her small business will be impacted dramatically if tolls are enacted on the Mount Hope Bridge. Mello's Farm Stand is located on Boyd's Lane, just off Bristol Ferry Road and less than a half mile from the Mount Hope Bridge. The small, family-operated farm stand receives business from customers who reside both on island and off, including residents of Bristol and Tiverton. Mello's Farm Stand co-owner Laura Mello talks about the impact tolls would have on her business in the video featured above. The farm stand, which is open seasonally from July 4 to Oct. 31, not only depends on the Mount Hope Bridge and Sakonnet River Bridge for customers, but also to deliver its produce. The farm stand's…
Friday, October 7, 2011
Some Newport County residents believe it's time for Mount Hope drivers to pay their share.
During a public hearing at Portsmouth High School Thursday evening, residents weighed-in on a proposal by the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority to re-introduce tolls to the Mount Hope Bridge. The tolls are being considered to help cover a $63 million shortage of money needed to maintain the Mount Hope and Newport Pell bridges for the next decade. The alternative solution would be to raise the toll rates at the Pell Bridge. State Sen. Christopher S. Ottiano (R-Dist. 11, Bristol, Portsmouth), who attended the hearing, said he is opposed to the Mount Hope Bridge toll. “We all use all of these bridges,” Ottiano said. The idea that someone in one town uses something and someone else is paying for it, is a-la-carte taxation.” Since …