Other factors contributed to bridge toll victory

Other factors contributed to bridge toll victory


To the editor:

Many editorials and letters have been written complimenting those who fought long and hard to win the battle over the Sakonnet Bridge tolls.  Many people deserve credit and thanks for efforts to defeat the toll that could have been a financial disaster (the tolls could have collected less than the state’s loss due to lost taxes), and an economic disaster for the entire East Bay area and the entire state.

However (not to demean the efforts of those who fought for the victory of justice over greed), the many editorials and letters have failed to give proper credit to several of the most important facts that contributed to the victory.

Yes, the victory was due to the great efforts of many East Bay legislators, politicians, taxpayers, toll payers, and citizens; but credit must also be given to several of the critically important facts:

• #1 is the fact that the toll was intended not to support the maintenance of the new maintenance-free bridge that will need very little or no “bridge maintenance” for the next ten years or more.  The toll was intended to support the maintenance of the Jamestown Bridge, the Mount Hope Bridge, and to partially support the maintenance of the Newport Pell Bridge.

• #2 is the fact that the toll was an unjust burden because of both the amount proposed, (comparable to the Newport Pell Bridge toll, a bridge that was built as a toll bridge to replace the ferry), and because it would have been the only comparable bridge in the state that would have been tolled.

• #3 is the fact that if the Sakonnet Bridge toll had succeeded, it would have set a precedent for other unjust tolls on other bridges and roads throughout the state.  This was most likely the reason for the support of many of the non-East Bay legislators across the state.

• #4 is the fact that the road and bridge financing that the East Bay legislators set up stopped the theft of toll funding from travelers over the Newport Pell Bridge in order to finance the maintenance of the Mount Hope Bridge, and it provided proper funding from travelers who use the roads and bridges to fund the maintenance of all the state’s roads and bridges.

Rather than praising Rhode Island legislators, a few people have criticized the plan and indicated support for the unjust toll that would have amounted to legalized theft from a few for the benefit of the many others in the state who could have benefited. Such support can only be considered as resulting from ignorance and/or greed, such as the ignorance and/or greed that devised the toll plan in the first place. It is truly unfortunate.

Roger A. Bennis



  1. The law suit was a factor in the removal of the toll. The leaders of the house and senate knew the Judge would find the toll was installed in conflict with Fed. law. The Toll is gone but the law suit continues We need a complete victory for the people of Newport County.

  2. Hurray no tolls!! I thank just about everyone that got this done1 I only have 1 problem n that with Jay Edwards , Antone Viverios and Jeanne and Jim Smith, the #1 reason this got done was because over 30,000 voters signed up to sat NO! Yes Jeanne Smith sent me the first copy of the Petition and I credit her with that, But she had NOTHING to do with the next 6 or 7 or 8 versions of it, Mr Viverious says They got 30,300 signatures Bull that a straight up lie, show me the petitions, who’s name is on it where was it picked up What stores were the petition in The minute i saw that and got a copy i hit the ground running, I knew that it would take a massive amout of voter outrage to stop this and if that didn’t happen I was wasting My Time, Hey J did you really say “That petition is a joke n tolls are a done deal!!’ before ,we probaly had a 1000 names Why the plan to mitigate? was it even legal, I really don’t care I always Believe we could get this done ALWAYS, What did you really get 4000 names tops But lasr saturday you an d Antone and the Smiths tryed to take creit for ALL the work myself Joy m Chee and others did !!! very classy , and all i did was ask people to give us their support something you Mr edwards never did from the start, It takes a pretty low person to steal someone elses work n give the credit to others but that EXACTLY what you have done Completely let down the voters of both towns. you should be impeached, couldn’t toss a biscuit by voting NO on that entire budget could you??>? thanks alot If you think any of this is untrue i am willing to discuss in public face to face anytime, YOU TRIED TO STEAL CREDIT FOR OTHER PEOPLE”S WORK AND YOU KNEW IT, I was raised better than that n will never forgive you, and seeing as How this is not the Patch rag all your no named friends can’t insult me I stand pround and Honored by what happen because I promised many many folks my word that the tolls were just insane and it would never happen, At the very end when i finally had to stop because of injury i was still miving into ne Parts of the island an we were getting 1000, new names a trip x 3 trips a week Joy n Chee got morev folks involved so i go spred further, people were calling and asking for copies in there mail box to pass around with friend, stores were sending me to other store We had just started gaining ground in the 5th ward I spoke with 1000’s about this So guess what I WILL NOT LET YOU TAKE CREDIT FOR WHAT OTHERS DID, you should be impeached or not voted for

  3. Correct Jim L. These politicians did what they were elected to do only after getting scared because of the number of voters signing those petitions. For a politician to take credit for being forced to do the right thing, that they should have been supporting in the first place is wrong in my opinion.

  4. I would also like to thank Rep Edwards and many others for the fine work they did. Anyone worrying about credit and being noticed is a sad and loathsome person. The truth is that the unverified signatures of a petition did little to remove the tolls. It was in fact the legal and political wrangling that did the job.Many people have popped up on this apge after destroying the patch. Lets hope they can control themselves in this site.

  5. So rene Cweik Santini and Rick K If your calling folks loathsome and sad then you better go look at edwards and Viverius then Jeanne n Jim Smith because they tried to STEAL the credit No One else did this, Only they stood up and want credit. Many people destroyed he patch YES folks like you who try to just gloss over wrongs done by folks, Jay edwards sold both my towns out and NOW he wants credit? NEVER. STOP they and EVERYTHINK else STARTED from the petition Hey ask Jay if he did say very early in the fight “That Petition is a joke and tolls are a done deal”I thank everyone ALL the thousands of folks that signed on It was MY name on the bottom of that page I was the one that promised folks all over the island that with enough voters this would not stand n Chee n joy safeguarded all those names from Political bozo’s It’s folks like you that gave Joy a hard time for her work on this, Hey Rene going to get me Banned again? for what useing my real name! Anytime Jay edwards or anyone else try’s not take credit instead of giving credit where it due I will call them on it

  6. You guys wanna call me a drunk again? Discribe my yard, insult my family, hey guess what All I did was print the truth, PERIOD the Tolls were jaust a money stealing job robbing stupid money grubbing deal from the start. And Antone who thinks that the Petition did nothing then you have got issues with all the folks that signed it and knew it was the only way to stop it And care more for a politacal party then they do their fellow taxpayers Now that i have straighten this out i will be leaving Patch again as long as it doesn’t hold folks to real names and to the statements they make it will remain njust an insult rag
    i don’t play that wayt

  7. Jim Lipe, I have no idea if you drink or don’t drink. I don’t know or care what your yard looks like. Hopefully it is neater than the your written posts. You should take a few minutes to review what you write before hitting the enter button. It seems that in your haste and anger to be proven them man who got rid of the tolls, you have lost your ability to spell check and perhaps even to think clearly. You stated above that you will be leaving patch again. I am not sure what you meant by that but you are on the eastbay site not the patch. As for people using or not using their real names, if was good enough for you and Joe Sousa on the Patch why are fake names an issue? Lets hope that you can regain a modicum of self control before you lead this conversation down the gutter as you and your buddies did on the Patch.

  8. Rick K get a real name i need no self control I just will not let others take credit for what THEY didn’t Do. I do not and have not voilated the terms of patch and what i have spoken is the plain honest truth. go ask your rep how many people he told the petirion was a joke and tolls were a done deal before you come looking for me The onlt reason this got done was because the writing was on the wall, if tolls weren’t difeated then the folks in office would be. if you can’t see that your balind More so after knowing what Edwards said never mind stealing others work, Talk to me when you get a last nsme or are you one of the silly idiots who signed faked names
    Edwards should be impeached!!

  9. Jim Lipe my real name is Rick and my last name begins with the letter K. I adopted this practice from you. I saw that signing as Jim L was good enough for you for years of disruptive and intimidating behavior on the patch so i thought my few posts on here would be fine signed the same way. Jim L how did the petition lead to the removal of the tolls. If you really think that 30,000 unconfirmed signatures, many by people unable to vote in RI changed the minds of anyone then you are sillier than you look. The writing was on the wall as you say but it wasn’t the petition that did it is was lawsuits and politics. I for one would like to thank Jay Edwards and the other local pols who got involve, rolled up there sleeves and did the heavy lifting. If you really think he should be impeached then go ahead and get the proceeding rolling. What is the process for impeaching a state rep? I guess now that you are done claiming responsibility for the tolls you can get back to work driving around taking pictures and reliving the good old days.

  10. Nero, he is as serious as a heart attack. This man has ruined another online comments section and despite what he says was banned from posting their due to his outrageous behavior. can’t a grown man behave better than this.

    • Jim when you say Jat are you referring to Jay Edwards? He did a great job with ridding the town of the tolls.I would go so far as to say he has secured his re=election.

  11. Jim Lipe is correct. He is the ONLY person responsible for stopping the tolls. Nobody else lifted a finger. Thank god for him and his petition. I signed it every time I saw it. That must have been thirty or forty times. Thank you Mr. Lipe. Thank you. Thank you.

  12. The Toll was eliminated at a high cost. Taxes were increased making our businesses less competitive with Mass. The cost to the working person went up again. The Toll is gone but not a victory for some. Gas is now eleven cents cheaper in Mass.

  13. Maybe you baggers that don’t want to pay any taxes should dress up in you colonial garb and paddle across the Sakonnet and pretend you are Washington crossing the Delaware. It’ll all be free!

    So the gas is supposedly 11 cents more than in MA. Are you implying that the differential was less before the tolls were eliminated? If so, what was it? I think you are another clueless Fox News disciple void of any factual information. Where do you think the President was born?

  14. Give it another year and that toll gantry will be back up and running! You know how the FHWA said that legally the state cannot settle a lawsuit with the town of portsmouth over the tolls? you know why? Because if this federal highway spending bill doesn’t pass by Aug. 1 then the federal gov’t is giving states the free pass to toll anything they want even federal highways in their states to make up for the lost income from the federal highway bill. If you don’t believe me just google it and read all about it. Give it a couple of years and you will see 95 and 195 with toll booths at each end