Even from northern RI, toll looks like giant rip-off

To the editor:

Based on the latest news being circulated, the RIDOT is going to submit a bid (aka =’Excuse’) for a Sakonnet River Bridge toll to the Federal Highway Administration — all of this, I am sure, also supported by one Mr. David Darlington and his band of minions that comprise the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority, all of whom need to justify their existence.  (NOTE:  Have you driven by the Authority’s headquarters in Jamestown wherein a new ‘Jamestown Mansion’ is being constructed to house this crew?  Is it no wonder they need a toll and it ain’t got nothing to do with the Sakonnet Bridge construction and cost!

Just imagine, if you will, and, please let’s all be realistic, if a toll had to be implemented on every bridge constructed over any ‘Podunk River’ — Traffic would come to a complete stop.  Cars idling would create pollution that would rise into the ozonee at unheard of levels, and travel costs would cripple the economy.

In the last, what? Ten years or so let us look at the number of extremely costly bridges that have been constructed, over-hauled and/or repaired here in Rogues Island.

First we had the overly expensive reconstruction and rerouting that took place on Route’s 95 and 195 (The IWAY Project at over a cost of $1 billion wherein we built a bridge remotely and floated it up Narragansett Bay and the Providence River.

I never heard ‘boo,’ especially with the cost of this boondoggle, that, now complete, did nothing to improve traffic flow, about our needing to help cover the cost by implementing tolls.  Today, traffic on these two interstates passing through Providence is worse then before that project was begun.

Further north, we had the major construction of the bridge on Route 95 in Pawtucket over the Blackstone River.  And no toll there either.  Then again, it probably wasn’t necessary as the DOT, with the help of the RI State Police (which I really believe participated reluctantly) ripped off truckers for years to the tune of $3,000 or more for accidentally crossing it!

I could go on and on and on, including the very costly construction of the Jamestown/ Verrazzano Bridge, which has no toll, as to the amount of bridge construction that has taken place here in Rogues island and never once (except for the Newport Bridge, until the Sakonnet Bridge Project came along, was there ever any discussion on tolls.

Well, if billion dollar projects and bridges can be built, refurbished, etc. and done so without toll, there is no doubt in my mind, as I am sure is the case with many others, that this entire fiasco as to tolls on the Sakonnet Bridge, is nothing more then a blatant rip-off and attempt by some to create a source of income to fund the existence of a body that is not at all needed, especially as presently structured.

Tom Letourneau

Cumberland

One Comment;

  1. Chuck Dore said:

    I agree with all your points except, as one who travels through Providence daily and did so for years before the iWay project was completed, I can say without a doubt, the traffic flows much better. There are still occasional traffic issues but nowhere near as bad as before.

    The toll on the Sakonnet Bridge is without a doubt a ripoff and a slap in the face to anyone who lives or works on Aquidneck Island. You are correct in all your points of countless other bridges constructed at a great cost without even a mention of tolls. Clearly, the government of Rhode Island doesn’t represent Aquidneck Island fairly. Just look at the condition of our main roads for an example of how we are ignored and neglected. Now they want to rip us off as well.

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