East Bay representatives seek federal hearing on toll

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Four East Bay representatives are seeking federal hearings on state plans to institute tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge.

Rep. Raymond E. Gallison Jr. (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth), Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton, Portsmouth), Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) and Rep. Linda Finn (D-Dist. 72, Middletown, Portsmouth) sent a letter Wednesday to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking that hearings be held by the Federal Highway Administration on the plan for tolls.

“Public hearings were previously conducted by concerning the proposed tolls. However, it is our belief that the Federal Highway Administration should undertake its own hearings with citizens and business people from the area to learn firsthand the negative impacts and burdens tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge will present to these individuals,” the representatives wrote in their request.

“We understand that the hearings conducted by RIDOT and RITBA are a part of their application, but we firmly believe that separate hearings by the Federal highway Administration are necessary and appropriate,” the letter continued.

The RIDOT has applied to the Federal Highway Administration for permission to institute tolls of an unspecified rate on the bridge, which connects Tiverton and Portsmouth over the Sakonnet River.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.