To the editor:
After hearing on the news that Governor Chafee signed the new budget with 10-cent tolls, I find that it is the straw that broke the camel’s back. I am truly upset regarding the impractical plan that is in place for commuters who have no E-ZPass. They will wait to send out bills to drivers after they accrue $5 in tolls?! Who is going to monitor this? Who is going to cross reference license plates to drivers and locate mailing addresses? Who is going to prepare the bills and mail them out? Who is going to monitor whether the bills are paid or not? Will the state make any money after paying for all these administrative costs? It seems this plan is impractical and not very well thought out.
The first question I have is why tolls are being considered only for bridges that get onto Aquidneck Island? I believe the state needs to look at other options and I offer one solution here. I travel to New Hampshire very frequently and there are tolls to enter and exit the state from the major highways.
Couldn’t Rhode Island consider this type of toll upon entering the state from Route 95 in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and Route 195 from Massachusetts? This method would allow the state to build up the coffers for road maintenance and should free up other funds for bridge maintenance and repairs while taking the onus off Rhode Islanders who come to work on Aquidneck Island and allowing the state to collect revenue from out-of-staters.
The second question is why should commuters with E-ZPass pay instantly every time they traverse the bridge while commuters without E-ZPass get by free, maybe getting a bill after 50 trips? This is not a fair solution to the problem of bridge maintenance in the state of Rhode Island.
Mr. Governor, are you listening? I think your constituents are speaking loudly enough.