Lawmaker: West bankers get very little for their tolls

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wwltv.com

Posted on October 23, 2012 at 6:01 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 23 at 9:28 AM

Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Email: ssatchfield@wwltv.com | Twitter: @satchfield

NEW ORLEANS -- While voters from three parishes will soon decide the fate of tolls on the Crescent City Connection, state Rep. Pat Connick says the decision stands to affect one group more than the rest.

"The numbers speak volumes that the West Bankers have paid and paid and paid, and what we have gotten in return is very little, and it's gotta end,” Connick said.

Connick showed us figures from the state transportation department, which include a breakdown of CCC revenues collected through toll tags over the last 12 months.

The numbers show money collected from toll tag holders in Jefferson Parish was $3.4 million, far more than the amount collected from those in Orleans and Plaquemines parishes.

Connick points out that the top seven zip codes for toll tag revenues are all on the West Bank.

"It's bad, it's unfair and I think the folks who don't live in this area, they would not like for the people that live here to impose a tax on them, when they don't have a dog in the hunt,” he said.

Connick acknowledges, the ballot is set, but as election day moves closer, he's calling on voters to end the tolls.

"Huge amounts of dollars have been given to this entity and the entity has not provided the service that was promised,” Connick said.

Those in favor of continuing tolls, like West Bank businessman D'Juan Hernandez, say losing that money source would leave critical services in jeopardy.

"Safety and security, maintenance, trash pickup, landscaping, etcetera, let's keep that source of revenue in place, and let's focus on a proper management system going forward,” Hernandez said. “When the state is strapped, it's strapped, and Gov. Jindal has made it clear that when the state doesn't have the revenue sources or the money to be able to support a particular action, they're gonna have to cut. Now why does a bridge become anything different?"

 

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