To the editor:
The following facts are in evidence to indicate the true purpose of the proposed Sakonnet Bridge toll:
1. Per DOT Director Lewis at the December 3 and 4 toll hearings, the intent is to obtain $19 million from the Sakonnet Bridge toll, and that $17 million of the $19 million (89.47%) from the proposed toll would be used for support of the other three bridges (the Newport Pell Bridge, the Jamestown Bridge, and the Mount Hope Bridge) and the connecting road in Jamestown.
2. Since the transfer of the Sakonnet Bridge to the RITBA and the proposed tolls would relieve the DOT from the obligation to perform maintenance on the Sakonnet Bridge, the $2 million per year that DOT Director Lewis indicated was necessary for maintenance of the Sakonnet Bridge would then revert back to the DOT and be available for use on other bridges in the state. Therefore, it would be accurate to say that the Sakonnet Bridge proposed toll of $19 million per year would result in a total of $19 Mmllion per year in funding being transferred to other bridges in the state of Rhode Island ($17 million to the other three Newport County bridges and $2 million to other DOT maintained bridges and roads).
3. Based on the above, is it not clear and apparent that the purpose of the proposed $19 million per year toll on the Sakonnet Bridge is to fund other bridges, and not to fund the maintenance of the Sakonnet Bridge?
Roger A. Bennis