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Crescent City Connection toll battle

CCC1On Nov 6, 2012, Voters in Jefferson & Orleans Parish voted on whether to extend the tolls on the Crescent City Connection (CCC) bridge for another 20 years.

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UPDATE from Curt Sprang at the CCC: Workers collected tolls until about 4:35 this afternoon.  Then the message went out to stop collecting and to wave drivers through.

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UPDATE: Rep. Pat Connick, the Republican representative for Marrero, announced that effective at 6PM Tuesday, the CCC will no longer collect tolls from drivers.

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District Judge William Morvant ordered the results of the February election that renewed the tolls on the Crescent City Connection should be dismissed and a new election should be held on May 4, 2013.

The challenges to the election were filed shortly after the results showed that the decision to renew the tolls for 20 years passed by only 36 votes (see voting results image, below).

In response, Mike Teachworth, founder of stopthetolls.org, sent a statement that read: “The Westbank will get another chance to stop this unfair bridge tax which has taken over $400M out of our community over the last 24 years.”capture

Recount results released Tuesday showed the vote to extend tolls on the Crescent City Connection passed by 36 votes rather than the 18 shown after the polls closed.

It was a partial recount of paper ballots.

The group Stop The Tolls isn’t finished with the issue.

It has filed a lawsuit and could be in court next month.

 

Tolls on the Crescent City Connection will be extended for another 20 years, according to today’s vote count. The measure passed by just 16 votes in today’s unofficial results.

The only issue remaining after last Tuesday’s election was the bridge toll. Voters on election day chose to extend the tolls, but only by a margin of 8 votes. Because of the thin margin, Orleans Parish elections officials were forced to count between 30 and 40 overseas ballots on Tuesday.

This vote count is expected to be certified on Wednesday.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I guess that’s what the local politicians in this state are counting on come Tuesday.

Besides who you select as president, there are several other key propositions on the ballot.  One that is causing quite the stir locally is renewing the tolls on the Crescent City Connection.

Local politicians are pushing hard for voters to renew the tolls on the bridge for another 20 years.   The tolls were originally designed to pay for the bridge, which they have.

Now politicians are threatening us if we don’t renew the tolls. They claim the bridge will fall into disrepair.  That the bridge will go from a highly rated one to one that most certainly will be neglected.

Mitch Landrieu says the City of New Orleans can’t afford the upkeep. Jefferson Parish officials say the same. When the tolls were renewed the last time, multiple road projects were promised, especially on the west bank.  Few if any were built.

Now the politicians are asking us again to trust them and renew these tolls. Over $20 million is collected annually from the tolls.

Do you think the money is being spent efficiently and effectively or not? It’s easy. If you trust our local politicians and feel they are doing a good job, vote for the for the renewal. If you don’t, vote against it. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

News with a View
05/09/12

Tolls, ferries and bridges … Oh my!

What a simple question: should the tolls on the Crescent City Connection be allowed to expire at the end of the year?  Very simple question, not such a simple answer.

The question of keeping tolls or not on the CCC has come up before. The last time it was discussed, West Bank residents were promised 5 major road projects that were to be funded by the tolls. Not one of those projects even got started, much less completed.

Here’s more bad news: a recent audit revealed that less than 20 cents of every dollar collected actually goes towards the bridge. The CCC is apparently a money grab for certain folks and nothing more.

From that perspective, it’s an easy call: let the tolls expire.

Then there’s the dilemma of the ferries. These boats, which are necessary since a Mississippi River bridge at Chalmette has never been built, cost a lot more to operate and maintain than the money they take in.  The state legislature needs to come up with a plan to let the tolls expire on the CCC and keep the ferries fully funded and operational.

Our lawmakers may actual earn their money on this one.

News
12/06/11

Crescent City Toll Debate

CCC2Toll collection on the Crescent City Connection is set to expire next December.

The fast approaching date has both supporters of the toll program and opponents sounding off.

An informational meeting for supporters was held Tuesday night in Algiers Point.

Dozens of people packed the Carriage House to talk about the benefits of tolls.

The say tolls help pay for bridge police, maintenance, and lights.

But opponents say the toll program unfairly taxes people who live on the West Bank.

The Friends of the Ferry Task Force will have until February to convince law makers to extend the toll program.

A proposed bill could come in the spring.

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