Rhode Island’s truck-only tolls are currently under legal attack. But despite their constitutionality being credibly called into question, the state is considering doubling the tolls at one of the most well-travelled tolling locations. And they’d like your permission to do it.
The truck-only tolls are part of the state’s RhodeWorks program. In the first twelve months, with just two tolling locations open, the state brought in over $7.2 million. With all 13 toll gantries up and running, Rhode Island hopes to raise approximately $1 billion off of truckers within 10 years.
Location 4 is in Providence along I-95. The tolls there are expected to begin collection on March 5th, 2020. Before the proposal, the rate was approved at $2.25 per truck. The new proposal would raise that to $4.50 per truck.
When asked about the rate hike, RIDOT officials claimed that it wasn’t actually a rate hike at all. Instead they claim that the hike is because the state is considering whether it should collect tolls at another planned location or not.
According to RIDOT Communications Director Lisbeth Pettengill, the rate hike would only go into effect if the state chooses not to move forward with the other location. Nowhere in the rate hike notice is any other location mentioned, but Pettengill assured the Providence Journal that the omission is purely for legal reasons.
“It is telling that the formal, legal notice of this proposed toll increase does not include the elimination of any toll gantry,” Rhode Island Trucking Association president Christopher Maxwell said according to the Providence Journal. “RIDOT is attempting to placate the public about the doubling of this toll at a heavily trafficked location with a nice-sounding story without actually committing to the removal of the other gantry and its revenue.”
If you’d like to voice your support or opposition to the toll increase, Rhode Island encourages you to do so.
All interested parties are invited to submit written comments concerning the proposed regulations by MARCH 1, 2020 to the addresses listed below.
ADDRESSES FOR PUBLIC COMMENT SUBMISSIONS:
Jay McGinn, P.E.
Project Manager II
2 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02903