Monday will be the first day that Rhode Island will start collecting truck-only tolls on its highways. Which means that lawsuits over the tolls can be expected before the week is out.
On Tuesday, Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti Jr. announced that the first two tolling locations would be operational starting on Monday, June 11th.
The first location will be in Hopkinton between exits 2 and 3 on I-95. Truckers driving through will be charged $3.25 once per day per direction. The second location is in Exeter between exits 4 and 5 on I-95. This location will charge truckers $3.50 once per day per direction.
There are still 12 more toll gantries which are planned across the state as part of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s RhodeWorks program. RIDOT hopes to raise $7.2 million per year from just the first two locations. Once all 14 are up and running, truckers will be limited to $40 in tolls per day. Estimates indicate that truckers will be paying an estimated $45 million per year.
Trucking groups have been fighting against these tolls since they were proposed in 2015.
In 2016, the Rhode Island Trucking Association said that the tolls were trying to “wipe away decades of corruption and malfeasance by scapegoating the trucking industry and imposing a veiled tax on the citizens of Rhode Island.”
But the trucking industry isn’t just talking tough. The ATA has been throwing regulatory roadblocks in the way for years, truckers turned out to protest the tolls, and multiple trucking groups including OOIDA and the ATA have promised to file a lawsuit against Rhode Island the moment the first toll is collected.
“The trucking industry remains unified and resolute in its fight against this policy,” said Chris Maxwell, president of the Rhode Island Trucking Association. “We will use every resource and tactic available to us to win in the political, legal and commerce areas.”