PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A legislative commission has begun its search for alternatives to bridge tolls following the imposition of an unpopular toll on the new Sakonnet River Bridge.

The special legislative task force on bridge funding met for the first time on Thursday at the Statehouse.

Lawmakers created the commission this year after authorizing a 10-cent toll for the new Sakonnet span, which connects Tiverton and Portsmouth. The Turnpike and Bridge Authority is expected to consider raising the toll next year.

East Bay residents say the toll is a burden, but transportation officials say it's necessary to support bridge maintenance.

The commission is led by House Finance Chairman Helio Melo and Senate Finance Chairman Daniel DaPonte. It also includes lawmakers opposed to tolls, as well as top state transportation officials.

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