I have read that the Cape Elizabeth Town Council is yet again considering charging fees for the use of Fort Williams, probably in the form of parking fees. I don’t know why it took me so long to be inspired by this, but I now think this is a wonderful idea!

As a Portland resident, I think this could be the start of a cure for our own fiscal issues. Most people who come to Portland from Cape Elizabeth do so over the Casco Bay Bridge. Why don’t we start charging non-Portland residents a fee for entering Portland via the bridge?

There could be a tiered system, similar to one proposed for Fort Williams, with the highest fees for people from Cape Elizabeth, less for South Portland and Scarborough residents. It could be hooked in to the E-ZPass system, and we could also have the system in place at the off-ramps for Interstate 295. And, hey, that would allow us to include Falmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport, too!

After all, the use of streets and public services in Portland by people who don’t live here certainly results in some cost to those of us who do live here. Why shouldn’t we pass that cost on, similarly to the plan the Cape Elizabeth Town Council is proposing? They don’t even provide trash cans at Fort Williams.

Mark Nakell