To the editor:
Like many of you, I was shocked and dismayed by the new toll structure proposed by the Rhode Island Bridge and Turnpike Authority this past week for the Sakonnet River Bridge. What could they have been thinking?
If it is the responsibility of the residents of Aquidneck Island and the East Bay to make up for decades of ineptitude and waste by our state government, then these tolls are nowhere near high enough to get the job done. The proposed one way cash toll of $5.25 each way ($52.50 per week for some working individuals) is only going to impact those who may have been hard hit by the great recession and no longer have the credit scores necessary to get a credit card and Easy Pass. To be fair, even if everyone were charged $5.25 each way, this amount would be far short of what the state would need to get out of the mess it finds itself in.
A much more realistic toll would be $25 each way. Now you are talking a revenue stream that can really get things done. With a $25 toll each way, we could afford significant raises for all state elected officials, members of the General Assembly and also be able to afford to maintain the ailing Rhode Island pension system. Imagine how much more efficient our leaders would be with these new salaries.
As the saying goes, anything worth doing, is worth doing right. Write or email the Governor and members of the General Assembly and implore them to show the political courage to do the right thing; raise the toll to $25 each way for all and show we can become the state that many of us already fear that we are.