NEW ORLEANS -- A town hall meeting scheduled to cover a number of topics ahead of the 2013 legislative session, quickly launched into another heated discussion about Crescent City Connection tolls.
'They don't need no more tolls on the bridge,' said Al Mims, Jr. 'They can do without. The state's gotta find a way to get this done. It can't go on our backs anymore.'
With Louisiana DOTD officials on hand, the overwhelming majority of audience members made their stances clear with signs, t-shirts and stickers.
State Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans, said it's another sign of strong momentum from the anti-toll crowd.
'At this point, the issue is in the hands of the voters and from every purpose that I see, I think that the tolls passing on the May 4 election is a long shot at best.'
But concerns remain about future services on the bridge if tolls do go by the wayside.
'Part of the issue we have dealing with the bridge and its maintenance is that, there is a predisposition from the state as a whole not to give New Orleans money if they can get around it,' Morrell said.
A fight the New Orleans delegation faces year in, year out, Morrell says.
Still, state Rep. Pat Connick, R-Marrero, said local toll payers can't keep coughing up millions of dollars each year.
'It's gotta end. It's gotta be transparent. We have to get a return for our dollar,' Connick said. 'My agenda in Baton Rouge will be to end the tolls on the Crescent City Connection. That will be my agenda.'
The election is scheduled for May 4.