PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island legislative panel will consider a proposed alternative to Sakonnet River Bridge tolls, which are expected to increase this year if lawmakers can't agree on another funding source.

The House Finance Committee will review legislation Tuesday that would redirect existing state funds and impose a 5 percent surcharge on motor vehicle fees to pay for bridge maintenance. That would eliminate the need for a toll on the newly built span.

The toll was set at 10 cents after a legislative battle last year but is expected to go up. Critics say it poses an unfair burden to commuters, small businesses and tourists.

A separate bill would push back from April 1 to July 1 the date at which the Turnpike and Bridge Authority could move to charge more.


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