|Old Vicksburg Bridge||$0|
|John James Audubon Bridge||$0|
|Huey P. Long Bridge (Baton Rouge)||$0|
|Horace Wilkinson Bridge||$0|
|Huey P. Long Bridge (Jefferson)||$0|
Some people say the state doesn't have the money to pay for the CCC bridge, so thats why we need to keep the tolls on the CCC. If thats true, then how come the state has enough money to maintain all these other bridges in the state without a toll ??? Keep in mind that the state just spent $25.6 Billion the recent 2012 session. That's over 1000 times the amount of money collected in tolls ($20M every year). More importantly, after paying $400M in tolls for the last 24 years, why are the citizens of the Westbank the only ones who are forced to cover the states supposed lack of money?
Some people say 40 cents isn't a lot of money, so we should just pay the tolls and shutup. If that's true, then lets put a 40 cent toll on all the bridges in Louisiana. Also, that toll tax adds up: 40 cents a day is $150 dollars a year or $3000 dollars over 20 years that others in our state dont have to pay but we do. (Note: these figures are from one toll tag crossing once a day every day -- if you have more tags or make more crossings then these numbers go higher). Keep in mind that 57% of the toll payers pay the toll tax in cash, which means those citizens will pay $1 per day or $365 dollars a year or $7000 dollars over 20 years that others in our state don't have to pay but we do.
Some people say the CCC bridge costs more to maintain than other bridges, so thats why tolls are needed. If 10 times more taxpayers use the CCC bridge than any other bridge, then the CCC should rightfully receive 10 times more tax dollars from the state than any other bridge - because we are paying in 10 times more in gas tax. But not only don't we get our fair share of tax dollars for our bridge, instead we have to PAY in a toll tax while others in our state do not.
Some people say that we need the tolls because the state might not maintain our bridge. First of all, the state is maintaining all the other bridges in Louisiana (including the Mississippi River Bridges listed above and the 13,000 other bridges) and those bridges don't have tolls. Secondly, we should be demanding that the state do the right thing and take care of our bridge -- which we deserve by virtue of all the taxpayers who cross it every day. Instead of doing that, they are going to force the Westbank to pay a bridge tax for another 20 years while other citizens don't have to pay anything!
The "Friends of the Ferry" people say that we need to keep the tolls because the state won't pay for their ferries. Ask yourself this question: How come the state pays for every other ferry operation in the state? Why are the New Orleans ferries are the only ferries in the state funded with toll money? Remember that the state paid for the New Orleans ferries long before they started paying for them with toll money. (Note: because of laws passed in the 2012 legislative session, toll money cannot be used to pay for the ferries. Regardless of what happens with the toll election May 4, toll money cannot and will not be used for ferry expenses.)
Some people say that we need to keep the tolls because the local parishes don't have the money to pay for the $800K/year lighting costs on the bridge. If this cost was split evenly between Jefferson and Orleans parishes, each would have to contribute $400K/year. Also, the cost of the power to light the bridge is only 15K per year -- why then do we paying 800K annually in toll dollars ???
How is it that the Algiers Ferry can get $1.1M of the Trans Trust Fund dedicated to its operations while the entire Westbank cant get $800K out of the TTF for lighting ? Even worse is that after 24 years of being dedicated to the CCC, the $6M/yr from Highway Trust fund No. 2 is being totally taken away from the CCC. Had this $6M/yr of funding source remained, it was more than enough money to END THE TOLLS and ALSO PAY FOR EVERYTHING associated with the bridge (that means bridge lighting, grass cutting, bridge police, + ccc bridge maintenance) with no parish or the state paying anything additional. We would even have had $1M/year left over for the ferries. Do the math: $2M/yr for bridge police + $1M/yr for bridge lighting + $1M/yr for grass cutting + $1M/yr for ferries + $1M/yr for maintenance = $6M/yr)
The tolls are an unfair tax. Period.