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Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEWORLEANS - The Crescent City Connection bridges the east and west bank of the Mississippi and Orleans and Jefferson Parishes.

But, it now divides voters, for and against the continuation of the tolls.

On Thursday, the Stop the Tolls team held it's last news conference going into Saturday's referendum.

Some Westbank business owners claim their business has picked up since a Baton Rouge judge threw out the results of the November referendum and suspended the tolls.

'It has positively effected my business,' said Gretna Realtor Liz Strohmeyer. 'My business has increased over 30% in the past 4 months.'

'Since the tolls have ceased on the Crescent City Connection, I've had more customers in my store that tell me their from Uptown or from the Warehouse District,' said Shannon Ockman, owner of Bayou Sports Shop in Terrytown.

Two parish presidents also spoke at the No Toll news conference. They see the tolls as an unfair tax on the Westbank.

'If we're going to toll the Crescent City Connection, let's toll every other bridge in this state,' said Jefferson Parish President John Young.

'If you've been told that the bridge won't be kept up, it's not true,' said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.

Toll supporter Glen Orgeron disagreed.

'If you don't have a revenue stream, what happens to the grass, what happens to the inspection on the bridge, what happens to the police department,' said Orgeron.

Orgeron said despite a low key campaign by groups that want to keep the tolls, there are still plenty of voters planning to vote yes on the 20 year extension.

'There's still a good number of people who understand the issues and are willing to pay their 40 cents a day to maintain a better quality of life than the state will provide.'

Demographer Greg Rigamer said Westbank voters were overwhelming against the tolls during the November election and they cast a lot more ballots during early voting than Eastbank voters that favored the tolls the first time around.

'Where it really passed turnout is very low,' said Rigamer. 'Where it failed, turnout is exceedingly high.'

He says that is a good predictor on how the toll referendum will fare go on Saturday.

'It would indicate that it's not going to pass,' said Rigamer.

The toll referendum passed in November by only 36 votes.

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