Sakonnet Bridge Toll: Will Drivers Honor 10-Cent Toll Charge?

Addam Corré - Author
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Sep. 16 2013, Updated 6:53 a.m. ET

The Sakonnet Bridge toll, which will come into effect on Monday, intends to ask drivers using the toll bridge to pay. Those using the bridge in Rhode Island, which connects the communities of Portsmouth and Tiverton, will be asked to pay a grand total of just 10 cents.

What is even more interesting, especially in this day and age, is that the new payment scheme will be based on trust. (Yes, you read correctly, I said trust!) Of course, regular drivers who use the E-ZPass transponder will not be asked to make the payment, as they pay electronically when they use the bridge.

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The plan is for the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority to monitor traffic usage on the bridge. This will be done using CCTV cameras but they do not intend to bill motorists by mail. Instead they will leave payment to the discretion of the Sakonnet Bridge toll user, who can pay the authority by cash, check, or credit card and via their website.

Puzzling indeed, as one tries to wrap ones head around such a proposal to actually put some trust into everyday motorists (people). Could it be the end of hard-nosed, policy based systems which, traditionally don’t have the word trust in their vocabulary?

Well don’t get too excited just yet. David Darlington, the Authority Chairman, said following a meeting yesterday: ”We’re not sure how much money will be collected,” confirming that the new honor system would be judged on its merit and that the authority may consider charging users of the bridge by mail at a later date. (Surprise, Surprise).

Not all the local residents are thrilled about the new toll though. John Vitkevich, from Portsmouth, is protesting the new system, urging people to leave their E-ZPass at home, as a message to the Authority. He said that he expects the toll to increase within a year: ”If they want to impose a toll they can. We just want to make it more difficult.”

What do you think about the idea to introduce an honor system, leaving it up to motorists to pay their dues? Do you think it will work? And what about the Sakonnet Bridge toll being just 10 cents? Is it too cheap? Share your comments in the feed below.

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