Flap over Sakonnet Bridge tolls still going strong

Tolls have been removed from the Sakonnet River Bridge, but the fight over unpaid tolls is still going strong.

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority is working on a solution for collecting debt owed on the bridge tolls.

When the RITBA approved the placeholder 10-cent toll last year, it couldn't decide how to collect the toll. Because it could cost the state 80 cents to collect a 10-cent toll, most motorists were never charged.

Now the authority can't decide how to collect the debt owed on these tolls.

The RITBA said motorists owe a total of $200,000 to $250,000 in unpaid tolls since the 10-cent toll was implemented. One motorist crossed the bridge 1,283 times and owes the state $128.30.

To further complicate the issue, motorists who had E-ZPass transponders were charged 10 cents each time they crossed. The towns of Portsmouth and Tiverton are filing lawsuits asking that the Turnpike and Bridge Authority refund anyone who paid those tolls.

At a Turnpike and Bridge Authority meeting Wednesday morning, NBC 10 asked about possible solutions to the two problems. But a RITBA spokesman said no one will comment while lawsuits are pending.

The Herald News reported that the activist group STOP that opposed the tolls is holding a victory party July 19. Tickets cost $5 to attend.