Watchdog group asks Causeway officials to hold off on toll hike - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Watchdog group asks Causeway officials to hold off on toll hike

FOX 8 Photo/FILE FOX 8 Photo/FILE
SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) -

A North Shore watchdog group calls for the Causeway Commission to hold off on a proposal to raise tolls on the Causeway, saying St. Tammany bridge users are paying for far more than their share, and they want that changed.

"We're asking them to postpone increasing tolls on the bridge," said Rick Franzo with Concerned Citizens of St Tammany.

Many say it's not that they don't support safety improvements on the Causeway, it's just that they don't think St. Tammany commuters should have to pay.

"It's absolutely wrong that this money is being diverted to other places and St. Tammany is paying for the tolls on these bridges," Franzo said.

Concerned Citizens met with Causeway officials last week and just sent a letter asking the Commission to hold off on a vote later this month. The proposal is to raise tolls by $1 for toll tag users and $2 for cash customers to fund 12 new safety pullout bays and higher guardrails on the southbound span. 

They said the bridge is already twice as safe as local interstates and commuters, largely from the North Shore shouldn't bare that burden since their toll money already pays out more than $2 million a year for things like patrols on the Huey Long bridge and cash payments of $50,000 a year to seven surrounding parishes.

"We're working to change state law so the money comes back to the Causeway not other areas around the state," said Franzo.

The letter from the group also expresses dismay that after 60 years, the bonds on the bridge have never been paid off, which would allow it to be turned over to the state and federal officials.

"That should be part of the interstate system, and we want to know why that isn't being done," said Franzo.

Causeway General Manager Carlton Dufrechou said even if laws were changed and toll money allocations were kept with the bridge, it would not be enough.

"To amortize that over 30 to  40 years, it might be three times that much," Dufrechou said.

He said he doesn't plan on delaying a request to raise tolls, which he says are needed for maintenance, improvements  and continued patrols.

"Does it need first responders? Definitely. No matter what happens, it's imperative to have enforcement on this bridge day and night, and the first responders," said Dufrechou.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.

"Laws need to be changed on the state level, and then we got to bring it to the federal level," said 
Franzo.

He  says if the commission delays the vote, the concerned citizens group and it's hundreds of members, will lobby to keep more toll money with the bridge to fund improvements.  At some point he says that could clear the way for existing bonds to be paid, with the tolls eventually coming off.
The commission for now is scheduled to hold a special meeting to vote on the toll increases, later this month.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Saints defense struggling to find answers for Washington in 1st half

    Saints defense struggling to find answers for Washington in 1st half

    Mark Ingram scored the Saints only TD of the first half. Source: Mark LaGrangeMark Ingram scored the Saints only TD of the first half. Source: Mark LaGrange

    Washington shredded the Saints defense to the tune of two touchdowns in the first half, giving the D.C. squad a 17-13 advantage.  Kirk Cousins found Chris Thompson for the first touchdown of the contest from 16 yards. In the second quarter, Samaje Perine punched in a score from 1-yard out. The Saints only touchdown of the first half came on a Mark Ingram 36-yard run, tying the game at 10-10. Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.

    more>>

    Washington shredded the Saints defense to the tune of two touchdowns in the first half, giving the D.C. squad a 17-13 advantage.  Kirk Cousins found Chris Thompson for the first touchdown of the contest from 16 yards. In the second quarter, Samaje Perine punched in a score from 1-yard out. The Saints only touchdown of the first half came on a Mark Ingram 36-yard run, tying the game at 10-10. Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.

    more>>
  • Nicholls St. gets call to FCS Tournament

    97 players on the Nicholls roster hail from Louisiana. Source: Misty Leigh McElroy97 players on the Nicholls roster hail from Louisiana. Source: Misty Leigh McElroy

    It's a bad news, good news story for the Nicholls St. Colonels. They lost their River Bell Classic battle Thursday night against Southeastern. But, they won the war and got in to the FCS Playoffs anyway.

    more>>

    It's a bad news, good news story for the Nicholls St. Colonels. They lost their River Bell Classic battle Thursday night against Southeastern. But, they won the war and got in to the FCS Playoffs anyway.

    more>>
  • 1 dead, 3 injured in boating accident near Bayou Segnette

    1 dead, 3 injured in boating accident near Bayou Segnette

    Source: Louisiana Wildlife and FisheriesSource: Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries

    The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is investigating a fatal boat accident near Bayou Segnette early Sunday morning. 

    more>>

    The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is investigating a fatal boat accident near Bayou Segnette early Sunday morning. 

    more>>
Powered by Frankly