NEW ORLEANS - The Bureau of Governmental Research has come out against a proposition to renew the tolls on the Crescent City Connection.
The group, which said it had previously recommended that the tolls be allowed to expire, said it re-examined the issue after a change in circumstances since the legislative session.
A proposal to renew the tolls - currently $1 for cars, 40 cents per trip for those with a toll tag - is on the November ballot.
Some citizen groups have come out in support of renewing the tolls, citing the possible end of bridge lighting and an end of grass cutting and other maintenance on the approaches to the span.
The group said that most of the activities funded by the tolls would continue even with the tolls' expiration.
In a news release the group said State Police would handle the patrolling of the span and that the state will inspect, maintain and repair the bridge as needed.
The group said on the issue of bridge lighting, that is an expense that requires about $800,000 a year. The report said that there is enough money in a Transition Fund comprised of surplus funds from the current toll program to fund the lighting costs for about eight years, enough time, it argues, to find a source.
In the report, BGR Chariman Sterling Scott Willis pointed out that no other Mississippi River bridge within the state has tolls.
"The proposed tolls are a long-term commitment for drivers in the New Orleans area," he said. "Without a clear picture of what benefits the tolls would yield, voters cannot be expected to make such a commitment."