Though the amendment was still subject to a full vote of the House after the Sakonnet Times went to press, on Tuesday evening state Rep. Raymond Gallison of Bristol and Portsmouth said he is “100 percent confident” this budget amendment will be passed.
“We have a commitment from House leadership … that tolls will not be implemented until at least April 1 of 2014,” Rep. Gallison said. Speaking for all East Bay representatives, he said, “We’re ecstatic right now! This is great news for us.”
He added that he is also confident that the Senate will agree to the delay.
The measure, Rep. Gallison said, would delay tolls to enable time for the state to develop alternative methods of bridge maintenance funding. It would also provide time, he said, to do a “real” study on economic impact, not the “phony study” done earlier this year.
Lawmakers from these towns have proposed raising motor vehicle fees statewide, a funding source that they said it more fair and effective than requiring only one corner of the state to support bridge maintenance statewide.