RI Wants Tolls on I-95
August 18, 2011
Rhode Island has asked the federal government for permission to charge tolls on Interstate 95 near the Connecticut border.
As WPRI reports,
the state Department of Transportation filed an application in late June asking the federal government to approve the installation of tollbooths between Exits 1 and 2 on both sides of I-95 in Hopkinton. No tolls are proposed at the Massachusetts border.
The documents don't say how much the toll would be.
The RIDOT wants to add the tolls to generate revenue to:
* Replace the Providence Viaducts, a heavily traveled, structurally deficient bridge carrying I-95 in Providence
* Reconstruct a major interchange at I-95 and Route 4 to relieve congestion and provide acess to a major business park; and
* To bring the 43 miles of I-95 and the nearly 24 miles of I-295 to a state of good repair.
"Due to the conditions of the I-95 corridor and lack of sufficient state funds, tolling I-95 is necessary to maintain connectivity from Washington, D.C., to Boston, Mass.; for the safety of thousands of motorists; and for the economic viability of business (locally and nationally) that rely on our state's 67 miles of the I-95-I-295 interstate corridor," the application explains.
More than 260,000 vehicles use the 43 miles of I-95 that traverse Rhode Island every day, making it the third-busiest stretch of the highway on the East Coast, according to RIDOT.
The application also notes that in the last few years, the state already has spent a significant amount for Interstate rehabilitation projects, including replacement of the I-95 Pawtucket River Bridge and about $620 million in improvements to the I-95/I-195 connection.
WPRI reports that if the state received federal permission to toll I-95, the General Assembly would need to approve the administration's plan. It could take two years to put the tollbooths in place after that.
You can read Rhode Island's toll application on WPRI's website.