- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A plan to ban tolls on three bridges and establish a fund for road and bridge maintenance has gotten a hearing in the Senate.

The legislation would raise more than $1 billion over a decade through measures including spending cuts and a 5 percent surcharge on Division of Motor Vehicle fees for five years.

It would ban tolls on the Sakonnet River, Jamestown-Verrazzano and Mount Hope bridges. A toll on the new Sakonnet bridge has drawn fierce opposition from Aquidneck Island residents, who call it a burden.

The Newport Daily News reports nearly all the testimony at Thursday’s hearing was in favor of the bill.

The newspaper reports the only person to testify against it was the Department of Transportation director, who said the money has to come from somewhere.

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