Yesterday the Rhode Island Senate Finance Committee unanimously endorsed 2014 – S 2335, a bill to establish a statewide transportation infrastructure fund and block tolls on the Sakonnet Bridge. The act would redirect state funds to repair and maintain Rhode Island’s roads and bridges, as well as transfer ownership of the Sakonnet River and Mount Hope bridges to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Senator Louis DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) said that the bill would raise approximately $800 million over the next ten years.

The sponsor of the House companion bill, Representative John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Portsmouth, Tiverton), stated: “I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in both the Senate and the House to finalize a long-term, statewide plan for the maintenance of our state’s bridges and roads. We share the same common goal: to ensure a fair system that will protect the integrity of our local economy while improving Rhode Island’s infrastructure.”

Rhode Island’s bridge authority has voted to increase the 10-cent Sakonnet toll on May 16 if no action has been taken by then. If the Sakonnet toll is blocked, the Newport Bridge toll would increase instead.