Et Tu, Cusack?
Robert Cusack, a member of the panel and an East Providence councilman, said that the Massachusetts governor has the right idea. As much as his own constituents would dislike paying fees and tolls, he said, he thinks they would rather pay a toll than live with a disruption to a state highway system in disrepair.
“We are the lowest state in the Union when it comes to our percentage of contribution to highway repairs. On average, states contribute 60 percent of the cost of repairing their highway infrastructure. We contribute somewhere between 20 to 30 percent, and have been relying on the federal government to pay the rest.”
Cusack said people may complain about tolls, but New Hampshire has had tolls for a long time and no one complains. “New Hampshire has more severe weather, but their roads are in first-class condition because they have tolls to finance it.”
Of course, tolls in New Hampshire are more of a use fee in lieu of taxes. Our taxes are already high — ostensibly with the roads included therein. Administrators and legislators throughout our state must get it into their heads that there is no viable long-term solution that involves squeezing more money out of Rhode Islanders.