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#400356 - 02/16/11 01:52 AM Bridge paid off, now where does the toll $$ go?
Marty Offline
SAN PEDRO RESIDENTS DEMAND ACCOUNTABILTY

Five years after being constructed, the Boca del Rio Bridge in San Pedro has been completely paid off. J

Jorge Aldana reporting…..

“The Boca Del Rio Bridge, located on the northern part of San Pedro Town was built exactly five years ago, on February of 2006 amongst major opposition from residents on northern Ambergris Caye. The bridge was built at an estimated Belize $750,000; an interest free loan granted to the municipality by the late Sir Barry Bowen. The monies for the repayment of the loan were expected to be generated from a $10.00 toll, collected from motorist wishing to use the bridge. It is the most expensive toll in the entire county, and for the already economically challenge residents of San Mateo who live across the bridge, it has been of a lesser benefit to them. No report has been compiled as to how much money was generated over the past five years at the toll but the good news is that the bridge has been paid off. Yes, the entire loan was paid off since last year. Love News confirmed that since the last quarter of last year the loan was paid off in full. The bad news is that there is no indication if the toll price at the bridge will be lower. Back in 2006, the Mayor of San Pedro Town, Elsa Paz indicated that as soon as the bridge was paid off, the toll price would reduce. Well there has been no official word from the Town Council when and if the charge will reduce to accommodate the residents living across the bridge. As it is now, residents in the San Mateo Area, an area with no infrastructure, are not allowed to ferry material in vehicles over the bridge even though the bridge is open to public vehicular traffic. Even though the bridge was designed to accommodate golf carts, cyclists and pedestrians only, large vehicles have been allowed to ferry materials for the construction of private homes and resorts. So with the bridge already paid off what can the residents living over the bridge on northern Ambergris Caye expect? While Mayor Paz decline to comment, she indicated that already the bridge is in need of major repairs. She said that those repairs will be in the tune of over Belize $300,000. No indication as to which part of the bridge needs repair since just last year, the bridge went through major renovation that took over 8 weeks to be completed. According to the San Pedro Town Council, a detail report as to how much money has been collected during the past five years at the bridge will be compiled and ready as part of the Town Council Financial report and will be presented at a public meeting at a date yet to be announced. Again Mayor Paz declined to comment.

LOVEFM

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#400358 - 02/16/11 02:30 AM Re: Bridge paid off, now where does the toll $$ go? [Re: Marty]
SnoopysMom Offline
There has been an employee turnover at the bridge. The new ones seem to take their job a little more seriously relative to security anyway.

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#400386 - 02/16/11 03:51 PM Re: Bridge paid off, now where does the toll $$ go? [Re: Marty]
Phil Offline
I went over the other day returning Harriette's dog and the same woman was in the booth but when I asked her if I could get a freebie she deferred me to a new Security guy - who I have seen around for many years and has a good rep. He also let me go where the old lot would never have. Perhaps it can become legit again.

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#400393 - 02/16/11 04:04 PM Re: Bridge paid off, now where does the toll $$ go? [Re: Marty]
sunandsand Offline
At the opening of the bridge, it was said that this bridge was not designed to withstand chronic large vehicle usage, ie: cars/trucks/taxis. It was designed to support golf carts, bicycles and foot traffic. It will always need repairs if it continues to allow heavier traffic to use it. What are they thinking, allowing taxis to cross it? Much less the big dump trucks and construction vehicles. I makes you wonder exactly who is making what decisions using ?? information!!
_________________________
At what age is it determined I am old enough to know better?

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#400463 - 02/17/11 03:20 PM Re: Bridge paid off, now where does the toll $$ go? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Boca Del Rio Bridge almost paid off

There is a constant cry by residents as well as some tourists of the rather large toll being levied at the Boca del Rio Bridge. The bridge was officially inaugurated on Saturday, February 25th, 2006, and it was met with mixed feelings. While some residents longed for the days when San Pedro was a sleepy fishing village, and resisted the inevitable wave of progress, others saw the bridge as leading the path to prosperity, paved roads and four-storey buildings.

The bridge, 120 feet long and 23 feet wide, was capable of allowing emergency vehicles' passage (when necessary), but was exclusively for the use of golf carts, bicycles and pedestrians. The reported cost of BZ$750,000, was secured through financing provided by Sir Barry Bowen (deceased). The loan was to be repaid through funds raised from toll collections.

 

In 2009, the bridge was closed for a period of one month while maintenance work was carried out. Now exactly five years after its inauguration, The San Pedro Sun received information that the bridge had been paid off. Our investigations into the matter revealed that while the bridge is not yet completely paid off, there is a remainder of two interest payments, scheduled for February and March of 2011.

With the loan being paid, it is expected that the toll would be drastically reduced, if not eliminated. However, our investigations revealed that that will not be the case, as presently there are repairs and maintenance works needed on the bridge to the tune of some $300,000.00.

The San Pedro Sun contacted Mayor Elsa Paz for a comment and was informed that a full report is being prepared and will be presented to the community in the form of a Public Meeting. The exact date of this meeting was not determined at the time of press. We will continue to follow this story and update you as information becomes available.

San Pedro Sun


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#400539 - 02/18/11 03:50 PM Re: Bridge paid off, now where does the toll $$ go? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

San Pedro residents say drop bridge crossing fee

Residents of San Pedro have gone public to express their concerns over the steep fees they have to pay each time they need to cross the Boca del Rio Bridge that connects the north and south sides of the island. The fees are nothing new; they have been in place since the bridge was constructed five years ago, but the islanders are asking why the price has to remain the same if the loan for the bridge is almost completely paid. News Five’s Marion Ali headed east to La Isla Bonita today and filed this report.

Marion Ali, Reporting

Following reports in San Pedro that the five-dollar toll for crossing a golf cart on the Boca del Rio Bridge would remain as is, even after the loan to build the bridge is paid, San Pedro residents have voiced objection. The islanders are questioning two things: why does the fare have to remain so high after the loan is paid and why isn’t the bridge being repaired as often as it ought to, if the monies are being collected to maintain the structure.

Motorist, San Pedro

“It’s very expensive you know. Just last week I was in Orange Walk and I passed the Toll Bridge; it is only seventy-five cents that we pay. So it’s way, way too much. It’s pretty much expensive you know. I mean, we should have like because every time we pass it’s like twelve dollars we pay roundtrip. But it would be good if the money that they are charging could be used for the maintenance of the bridge because right now if you go on the other side they have a piece of plywood. So that is saying that the bridge is not being maintained.”

Motorist, San Pedro

“According to what I heard that we were going to stop paying when the bill was paid noh and they haven’t even—as you can see it is deteriorating and they haven’t even serviced it as yet. If you pass three times it’s fifteen dollars, but we buy a monthly pass which is twenty-five Belize.”

Marion Ali

“That works out much cheaper.”

Motorist, San Pedro

“Yes it does. It helps a lot.”

But the upkeep of the bridge is something that San Pedro Deputy Mayor, Pablo Ico says is something hard to accomplish because of the effect the natural salty air has on the metal structure.

Pablo Ico, Deputy Mayor, San Pedro

“On an ongoing place where we live which is exposed to salt and corrosion, even stainless steel rusts away. So they have to realize that to carry on maintenance and repairing of the bridge, the money has to come from somewhere.”

Marion Ali

“Are you saying that five dollars is the best possible fee that the Town Council can charge?”

Pablo Ico

Pablo Ico

“Well we haven’t really sat that on the table yet because we didn’t hear this as a complaint by any of the residents yet like how I seh. If this is brought up to the attention of the Council, of course the council will always say it and consider because we are here to work with the people not against. And we gonna also show them the list of expenses it takes and the residents will see how we can best get together and decide what fee we can decide on this bridge.”

The money to pay for the loan, financed by the late Sir Barry Bowen, is derived from the same fees collected from the residents and visitors who need to cross the bridge. But the residents object to continue paying the same fee, even people who live in the San Mateo area, which is an underdeveloped section near the bridge.

Pablo Ico

“San Mateo people, everybody knows that San Mateo has the privilege that they don’t pay any toll fee for that.”

San Mateo Resident

“I live in San Mateo and everytime I come across I have to park my golf cart and walk cross because dehn always charge me. I spoke to Mr Ico and he says that he will look after that but so far nothing.”

Marion Ali

“But five dollars each time across?”

Pablo Ico

“Well, yes that’s been set. I’ve never heard about any complaint before. I think everybody realizes where we live on, that the cost of living is always expensive and everything that you do requires a lot of money.”

Ico couldn’t say offhand how much the Town Board collects per month from the toll, nor could he tell us how much renovations that are about to begin are going to cost. But he says anyone who would like to see the figures collected can do so by visiting the San Pedro Town Board. Marion Ali for News Five.


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#401362 - 02/28/11 11:45 PM Re: Bridge paid off, now where does the toll $$ go? [Re: Marty]
Shopper Offline
Where can I purchase the monthly pass?

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#401369 - 03/01/11 02:19 AM Re: Bridge paid off, now where does the toll $$ go? [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
walk up the steps at the town board and go to the cashiers window.
_________________________
The Dive Shops Daily Blog
http://scubalessonsbelize.blogspot.com/

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#401386 - 03/01/11 01:48 PM Re: Bridge paid off, now where does the toll $$ go? [Re: elbert]
Shopper Offline
thanks for your help, we were there last Oct during the hurricane, coming back in June looking forward to the Lobster Fest

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#401415 - 03/01/11 05:40 PM Re: Bridge paid off, now where does the toll $$ go? [Re: Marty]
tcoats Offline
A San Pedro motorist quoted in the story above pays $25 BZ for a monthly bridge pass. Hmmm.... I pay $150 BZ for my monthly bridge pass--and I am a property owner north of the bridge. ???

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