Sakonnet Bridge Tolls: Protest Rally Friday
Thanks to the General Assembly, the new Sakonnet River Bridge gets a toll booth next June. The cost one way will be $4; $.83 for residents with an EZ pass.
It seems to me pretty unfair to suddenly drop tolls on everyone in an area where no tolls had previously been. Tolls are one of many expense factors that people consider when choosing – or not – to move into a particular town. I was, therefore, pleased to learn that a protest and petitions are being arranged by Jeanne Smith of Tiverton.
The protest will take place tomorrow, Friday, August 10 from 3:00 – 6:00 pm at Clements Market, 2575 East Main Road, Portsmouth. (A second protest will take place on August 14 at Portsmouth City Hall; details to follow.)
It’s interesting that members of the party that controls the General Assembly are looking as much to “mitigate” the tolls as to lift them.
Jeanne Smith is not of this submissive mindset. When I contacted her to obtain details of the rally, she sent the following thoughts, slightly edited for clarity and shared here with permission.
When I heard that they passed the toll during the last [General Assembly] session, and rammed it through right at the end, that got to me.
I heard it “was a done deal” and that our reps had done what they could do, and there are more of them and we were outnumbered. That got to me.
When I thought about how people on Aquidneck Island would be paying a disproportionate share towards the Turnpike Authority maintenance program, that also gets to me.
When I think of how small this bridge is compared to many of the other hundreds in the state, that also gets to me.
When I read that the Turnpike authority comment, I understand their pain, but after all they do live on an island …
So, not having a defeatist attitude, I made out a petition and figured I would bring them to a few places and see the reaction.
Well, the reaction was great….
I believe that people still have a voice.
So I started speaking to many, many people and they wanted to help.
It just keeps getting bigger every day. There are petitions throughout the island, Tiverton, and Little Compton.
The Small Business Assoc. in Portsmouth and a number of other groups are on board as well.
There is a rally at Clements this coming Friday from 3-6, at the same time that Buddy Cianci is on air. Channel 10 should be present there as well.
Then there will be a rally at the Portsmouth Town hall meeting on August 14th. I want our Governor, and our Senator who voted for these tolls to be on notice.