Being Lazy Makes Them Money
There’s something very Rhode Island about this proposed legislation:
A bill filed recently in the state Senate would forbid all vehicles with more than two axles from driving over the Sakonnet River (Route 24) and Pawtucket (I-95) bridges. While the 22-ton limit on both bridges would remain in effect, Senate bill S 2891 would ban a number of vehicles that are presently able to use the bridges. …
The measure was introduced by Senators Dennis Algiere (Westerly, Charlestown) and James Doyle (Pawtucket). Sen. Algiere said he did so at the request of the governor’s office and the state Department of Transportation (DOT), and referred any questions to the DOT.
Robert Rocchio, managing engineer of the DOT’s traffic design section, cited two reasons for the proposal.
First, “to preserve the integrity of the two bridges for as long as possible.”
And second, “to provide means to pay for enforcement” of the bridge restrictions. The bill proposes fines of $3,000 for the first offense, $5,000 for second offense which Mr. Rocchio said could help cover the $40,000 monthly cost of paying State Police to enforce the limits at overtime pay rates.
Mr Rocchio doesn’t mention that all the detouring will increase gas sales, which will also increase gas-tax revenue. Cynicism can go too far, but there must be some reason that the lawmakers involved (elected and otherwise) aren’t trying cost-saving measures first — fewer patrols, with random stops and higher penalties for violating the weight limit.
The rickety bridge doesn’t care, after all, how many axles are on a particular vehicle. If raising money is the primary objective, then the folks behind the legislation should say so. And then the rest of us should respond, first, by explaining the utter lunacy of piling burdens on an ailing economy and, second, by voting the bums out.