Sakonnet Bridge rate set; Tolls start this summer

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority voted Wednesday to implement tolls on the new Sakonnet River Bridge beginning this summer.

To cross the bridge with a Rhode Island E-ZPass, it will cost 75 cents. The toll will be $3.75 with an out-of-state E-ZPass. The cash fare will be $5.25.

The toll on the Newport Pell Bridge is 83 cents with a Rhode Island E-ZPass, and for all other drivers it costs $4.

"This state in the end isn't going to make any money on this because they're going to damage the economy of the East Bay," Larry Fitzmorris said Wednesday.

Fitzmorris has led the opposition to the tolls for 10 months. He helped collect 31,000 signatures from East Bay residents by December.

"Any toll on a bridge that never was tolled before is a problem," Fitzmorris said.

Legislative action taken nearly a year ago allowed tolls on the new bridge.

"Today, this is the law and this is what we need to do," RITBA chairman David Darlington said. "If the legislature reverses its decision we will adjust."

Fitzmorris said he's working with the Senate Finance Committee to do just that. A bill that would reverse the tolls is expected to be introduced at the end of the month.

"This is not the end of the road," Fitzmorris said. "It's not over here."