Bridge toll verdict awaits Tuesday count - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Bridge toll verdict awaits Tuesday count

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A vote count that could determine whether New Orleans-area commuters will pay bridge tolls for another 20 years has been delayed.

With well over 300,000 votes cast Tuesday, the toll extension was winning by only eight votes.

But 35 overseas military votes have yet to be tallied. That count had been set for Saturday. But Jay Batt, president of the Board of Supervisors of Elections for Orleans Parish, said the count was put off until Tuesday because of the federal Veterans Day holiday weekend.

Voters in Jefferson, Plaquemines and Orleans parishes voted on whether tolls collected since 1989 from motorists using the Crescent City Connection bridge should be extended for 20 years. They are set to expire at the end of the year.

The Secretary of State's Office said 33 military ballots from New Orleans and two from Jefferson have yet to be counted.

Proponents of extending the tolls, which are collected from drivers heading into New Orleans from the West Bank of the Mississippi River, said they should remain to provide dedicated revenue for operating, lighting, maintaining and repairing the bridges.

Opponents said the tolls are not needed now that construction debt for the newer of the two CCC spans is paid off. The state has money to maintain and improve the bridge, they argue.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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