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NEWORLEANS - More elected officials threw their support behind a proposal to renew the tolls on the Crescent City Connection Bridge.

Sheriffs, police chiefs, mayors and council members from Orleans, Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes held a conference four days before election day to try to convince voters to keep the tolls for the next 20 years.

The group called the issue one of public safety and economic development.

They see the need for toll money when it comes to bridge police, lighting and maintenance.

'Public safety is one of the most important issues in luring new businesses here. If the gateway to the city from the west going east and the gateway to Jefferson Parish from the east going west is in a deplorable state and condition, we will not be able to lure the economic development that we feel that we need in order to move this region from a third tier region to a second tier region,' said Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand.

Opponents urge voters to allow the tolls to expire on December 31. They argue that they are not needed to pay for the bridge anymore, and the state can take over funding for bridge operations.

'I don't think it's economic development. For a few people it's great business. But, for the most of us, it's a train wreck. We have not gotten our money's worth. Some big companies got a ot of money out of this. But., it's time for it to end. The bridge is paid for,' said Rep. Patrick Connick (R-Marrero.)

Voters will decide at the poll on November 6.

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