Darlington says it could be operational by late June or early July. The toll is set at 75 cents per trip for Rhode Islanders with an E-ZPass transponder. Non-residents with an E-ZPass will pay $3.75 per crossing. Those without transponders will have to pay $5.25.Those toll rates are per crossing???
So a Fall River resident visiting family in Aquidneck Island would have to pay $7.50 - $10.50 round-trip. Can anyone say highway robbery?
Even Boston's tunnels (Sumner & Williams) only charge $3.50 total (inbound only).
I would sure protest adding tolls on a bridge that never had them. (This came up in another thread.) Mount Hope is an unusual bridge to mention because it's still free. Wonder if that'll last?Apples & oranges comparision, Mt. Hope Bridge's highest passenger car toll was never higher than $0.30 each-way. The token rate was still $0.10 each-way back in the late-80s.
If the toll for the new Sakonnet Bridge was no higher than $1-$1.50; I don't believe there would be as much outrage or protest.
IMHO, the RITBA is overplaying their hand with this upcoming exhorbitant toll rate.
Well, the Newport/Pell Bridge toll is $4.00 each way ($0.83 for RI residents with a RI E-ZPass).
Basically, they justify the tolls by allowing RI residents (the ones that vote for the people planning this) to get through with a much cheaper rate than everyone else. So you're right, a Fall River resident visiting family in Aquidneck Island would pay $7.50 - $10.50, while the Aquidneck Island family visiting Fall River would pay $1.50.
They probably will have a frequent user discount that out-of-state residents can purchase, just like for the Pell Bridge. On that bridge, it is $5.46 for 6 "trips" that expire in 30 days, and also an unlimited plan for $40 per 30 day period, vs. $4.00 each way with no discount plan. So if that Fall River resident establishes a RI E-ZPass account, they can pay $5.46 for up to 3 round trips in a month. Even if they only take one round trip, $5.46 for the discount plan plus letting the other 4 trips expire is cheaper than $8.00 with no discount.
But what they bank on is this:
1) people from out of state going to Aquidneck Island are wealthy and will pay.
2) People will drive through the E-ZPass lane and not notice how much they are paying until much later.
3) the number of "in-the-know" people who will go out of their way to purchase a RI E-ZPass transponder and set up a discount plan is few and far between...most tourists come from outside of RI, and the vast majority of people establish only one E-ZPass account in their home state. I have more than one, and it is a pain to juggle transponders, but I'm not tossing money down the drain for no good reason on routes I travel often. I'm a very rare breed. Most people would just suck it up and pay on a route they travel infrequently, including myself if I ever drove up there. I just don't go up there often enough to justify having another E-ZPass account, so I'd just hold my breath and pay the high toll.
I'm not sure if I'm really a fan of the resident discount plan. Most other resident plans are restricted to an island that can only be reached via a certain toll bridge (Staten Island, Grand Island, Key Biscayne), portions of cities that are "orphaned" (Rockaways, East Boston, and to be fair they also let Broad Channel, South Boston and North End residents participate in the respective plans), or residents of areas that fall victim to a pricing scheme meant for long distance travelers (Roebling and Florence residents get a discount off of Exit 6 tolls on the NJ Turnpike, since the Exit 6 toll rates include the NJ half of the Delaware River Bridge, but those particular residents will almost never cross the bridge when exiting the Turnpike at Exit 6, they are exiting at US 130 to go home). Other discounts to people from a certain state are not really that, it is not based on residency, rather it is based on what E-ZPass transponder you have. So if you have a NY E-ZPass, you pay a cheaper toll per trip on the MTA Bridges and Tunnels than someone with an out of state E-ZPass, but they make it very clear that, "anyone regardless of residency may apply for a NY E-ZPass account". In RI, granting discounts based on what state the person lives in seems very arbitrary, as I cannot see a reason why someone in Westerly needs a discount on the Sakonnet River Bridge, but someone who lives in Fall River does not need it, despite living far closer but just so happening to live in another state. Unfortunately, the courts disagreed with me.