The Toll Plan Continues Apace
This progression was in plain view when Rhode Island began sidling toward transponder-based tolls:
The authority has also begun planning what could lead to reinstituting tolls on the Mount Hope Bridge, which is now free, and eventually impose tolls on the new Sakonnet River Bridge, which is under construction. The authority has commissioned a study that Chairman David A. Darlington said will look at tolls on all three bridges and various combinations of the three.
The board said it expects to raise tolls regularly, perhaps every three years, depending on its repair and maintenance expenses. The increases would be based on the Consumer Price Index, on an index of construction costs, or other inflation indicators.
With each new toll booth, more Rhode Islanders will bite the bullet and include a toll-paying device as another cost of daily life. With each new transponder, and with each Rhode Islander thus moved one step further from actually handing a piece of currency over for the ability to use a particular piece of public infrastructure, each new toll will be easier to implement and each increase politically easier to accomplish. (And let’s not forget that residents’ movement will become that much easier to track.)
In my view, this is nothing other than an incremental duplication of taxes that we already pay.