Letter: Don’t give up — toll battle not over

To the editor:

Government is not more important that the citizens of our state. When the horse ends up on top of the rider we encounter ideas such as the people of East Bay having to pay for their own transportation infrastructure while continuing to pay for the roads and bridges in the rest of the state.

This is an idea that the people of the East Bay have overwhelmingly rejected in a petition of 31,000 signatures. The message is clear but the Assembly and governor are having a hard time hearing our words. The always seductive idea of new revenue has made them deaf.

The tolls on the Sakonnet Bridge are being imposed on us against our will. Last year’s Assembly calculated that we were only ten percent of the state’s population and that they could get away with this tax on the East Bay.

To read recent press reports, the issue of tolls on the Sakonnet Bridge has been decided. Those who have pushed this bad idea into law want it to be over. While many believe this, it is absolutely not true. The STOP Committee, formed to oppose the tolls is still engaged and we have a good chance to reverse this unacceptable decision.

There are presently five bills in the Assembly to reverse the decision to toll the bridge.

The House Finance Committee Hearing on tolls is scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 25 in room 35. The brutal fact of life in the Assembly is that numbers count for everything. If we get a big crowd we have a chance. If we don’t, it is likely over. The residents of the East Bay must continue their strong opposition against the tolls and attend this hearing. Our objective at the hearing is to reverse the decision to toll the Sakonnet Bridge made in last year’s Assembly. If the Assembly and governor take no action, the tolls are going to be a fact of life. If the people of the East Bay react strongly, this will change.

Our campaign is going very well and we have a very good chance to reverse last year’s law. It has been a long hard campaign, one that began in July of last year, but the people of the East Bay have made substantial progress. We have a record number of signatures opposing the tolls, and there have been successful efforts to publicize our case across the state and voice our opposition at DOT hearings in Portsmouth and Tiverton. We have won a chance to rethink this decision in the Assembly.

This is not over.

Larry Fitzmorris

Portsmouth

 

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