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New Vote Called on Crescent City Connection Tolls
Updated 3.6.12, 3:45 p.m.
Crescent City residents will have to go to the polls for the tolls once again this spring. On Tuesday, a Baton Rouge judge threw out the results of the November, 2012, election that extended the tolls on the Crescent City Connection bridge for another 20 years. Until the do-over, save your dollars. Toll collection was immediately suspended on the bridge Tuesday, until further notice.
The Stop the Tolls group took their case against the CCCB toll vote to an East Baton Rouge Court earlier this year. As of now, the Judge has struck down the vote, and set another election for Saturday May 4. When delivering the news about nullifying the vote, Judge William Morvant said that the outcome of the election was impossible to tell.
The original result of the November 6, 2012 vote showed an eight vote victory in favor of extending the tolls a further 20-years, along with all the new proposed regulations on how the toll money was to be used.
In their case for recounts and for this nullification, The Stop The Tolls organization—lead by Michael Teachworth— has alleged discrepancies in the reported election results at various times, that "electioneering" took place, and that some provisional ballots were simply not counted properly. These facts lead to several legislative and Court ordered recounts of the provisional ballots in Jefferson, Plaquemines, and Orleans Parishes, but all recounts seemed to confirm the yes vote (some of the votes even expanded the margin of victory).
Following the order, issued late afternoon on March 5, toll workers left the booths on the bridge, and Rep. Pat Connick (Marrero) announced to his constituents that as of 6 p.m. that day, no further tolls would be collected.
Patrick Hand, the attorney on the case for Stop The Tolls, said that the final written order, which could provide further details on the nullification and new vote, could take up to a week to be officially filed.
Update (March 6, 3:45 p.m.): As a result of the judge's ruling, the state will fire 31 temporary workers that staffed the CCC's tolling operation, according to the state Department of Transportation and Development. The workers were hired pending the outcome of November's vote, and are now no longer needed, DOTD said. They will be terminated effective Friday.
"More personnel adjustments may be needed based on budget availability and workload needs," DOTD said in a statement.
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