Why Are We Transferring Ownership of Two (Two More?) State Bridges to a Quango?
This Bristol-Warren Patch article is comprised mainly of a press release from the R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority announcing that tolls (amount undetermined) will soon come to the Sakonnet River Bridge and that there would be no change in the amount of the tolls charged to cross the Newport bridge. But it also contained a separate, equally disturbing announcement by the RITBA.
Ownership of the Sakonnet Bridge will be transferred from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to RITBA, who will manage the tolling, maintenance and operations.
The Jamestown Bridge will also become RITBA’s property and will remain toll-free.
Is the Newport bridge currently owned by the RITBA? If so, why? Aren’t these state assets? Presumably, the power of the Prince, i.e., the state of Rhode Island, was exercised at some point to seize (fine, take by eminent domain) private land to construct the bridges. At that point, the bridges became the property of the state, meaning all of us: residents and taxpayers of Rhode Island.
It’s one thing to contract out the upkeep and management of the bridges, though at some point, I would ask for a review to be certain that the state shouldn’t ask for profit-sharing from the tolls. But do we need to go so far as to actually give away our assets – in this case, the bridges and the state land that they sit on?