BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — For years drivers have ridden toll free over the Sunshine Bridge, but state Senator Troy Brown is proposing to do away with all of that by putting the option of a toll to a vote. Senator Brown said he’ll be introducing legislation that, if passed, would put the idea of a toll to a vote to the parishes surrounding the bridge.
People we spoke to that use the bridge daily say they’re not too enthusiastic about reinstating the toll booths again.
"We pretty much do a lot of traveling back and forth so it would be an inconvenience," Lorraine Fields, a Donaldsonville resident, explained.
"We're going to have some people that's ok with it and some that's going to raise hell," said Martha Ferchaud, store manager with the Sunshine Truck & Casino Plaza.
Ferchaud isn't just concerned about the extra change it would take to get across the bridge, she's worried the toll booth could take a toll on her business.
"We've been getting a lot of feed back and too many people is not thrilled about it," she added.
Commuters would be paying a dollar each way to get over the Sunshine Bridge if the initiative passes. Senator Brown said that equates to millions over the course of the year.
“You're looking at a grand total somewhere of about $8 million annually that we could garner to utilize for local road projects," Brown explained.
He said if passed, about 50% of the toll money would go to the surrounding parishes to maintain roads in the area and contribute to the future Westbank Connector project. That proposed roadway would connect the Greater Baton Rouge area with New Orleans.
The $8 million in generated funds would also include money from the federal government.