Supporters of Rhode Island’s infamous truck-only tolls have lost another petition in court. This decision will allow lawsuits to proceed in federal court over the allegedly discriminatory and unconstitutional tolls.
Truck-only tolls in RI are part of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s RhodeWorks program. Of the 13 planned toll gantries, only two are currently up and running. But RI estimates that they will raise $1 billion off of truckers within 10 years.
RIDOT lawyers had hoped to prevent trucking groups from suing them in federal court by claiming that the tolls constituted a state tax which the federal government didn’t have any jurisdiction over. The United States First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled late last year that the case could indeed be decided in federal court.
An appeal for a rehearing was then filed, but it has now been denied.
Trucking industry lawyers will now argue in federal court that the truck-only tolls are discriminatory and constitute an unconstitutional bar on interstate commerce, violating the U.S. Constitutions Commerce Clause.
Despite the court challenges against the tolls, Rhode Island continues to collect toll. Recently RIDOT even asked the public to support a toll hike which would double the tolls at one of the busiest tolling locations in the state.