Fleet Management

Rhode Island Senate Approves Truck Toll Proposal

June 24, 2015

By Steven Martinez

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The Rhode Island Senate has approved a $1.1 billion plan allowing the state to create a toll on large commercial vehicles traveling through the state, according to a report by The Providence Journal. The legislation was approved by a 33-4 vote.

However, it's unlikely the bill will go anywhere in the House before the legislative session ends, according to the Associated Press.

The approved tolls will be used to finance $500 million in repairs and replacements for the state’s aging bridge infrastructure. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) expects the tolls to raise between $60 million and $100 million a year.

The state trucking association has been fighting the measure, and House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says he won't move forward until he feels the trucking industry's concerns are addressed.

Before the bill was passed, the Rhode Island Trucking Association issued a statement saying the process was moving too fast to properly determine how it might impact business in the state. The association called for a commission to review the plan first before moving forward.

“This process is moving entirely too fast and there have been no discussions or analysis on the fiscal impact of the proposed toll plan to the trucking industry or the business community,” said Christopher Maxwell, president of RITA. “We want to be part of the solution, but there are simply too many unanswered questions at this point.”

When the truck tolls were originally proposed by Raimondo, they came under fire from national and local trucking groups. The groups felt it was unfair that the tolls singled out commercial trucks and did not include passenger vehicles.

The outcry caused an amendment to the plan, further limiting its reach to only include vehicles Class 8 and higher, however, the plan remained unpopular.

It's still possible the issue could be addressed in a special session in the fall.

Updated 8:25 EDT June 25 to add House Speaker Mattiello's comments.

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