Rhode Island has continued to moved forward with its RhodeWorks plan to charge commercial vehicles traveling on major interstates with truck-only tolls, despite its unpopularity with certain trucking interest groups.
The American Trucking Associations and the Rhode Island Trucking Association recently vowed to fight against the state’s truck toll plan in a release, calling it a “predatory and discriminatory truck-only toll scheme.”
“By pressing ahead with her ill-conceived RhodeWorks scheme, Gov. Raimondo is violating the Constitution by interfering with interstate commerce," said Chris Spear, ATA president and CEO. "She and her administration were warned of this repeatedly by the trucking industry and we will continue to fight these unjust tolls by any means available."
ATA stated that it the trucking industry was on board with paying its fair share for infrastructure repairs and updates, but was not willing to foot the bill alone. RHITA also took issue with what it called the undue burden the truck tolls put on local businesses rather than from companies passing through the state.
“Ninety-four percent of the costs of these tolls will ultimately be borne by Rhode Island businesses – and worsening our state's congestion problems as study after study has shown that when new tolls are imposed, traffic simply diverts away from them – thus taking traffic off of the interstates and putting it on Main Street," said RITA President Chris Maxwell.
In addition to those trucking groups, the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates also spoke up about its namesake issue, saying that tolls will only negatively affect Rhode Island’s economy in the long run by targeting local business routing possible business around the state. The group is against tolls as a means of funding infrastructure because it maintains that tolling is too expensive and inefficient.
“Tolls on existing interstates are an underhanded tax that will negatively impact Rhode Island’s economy,” said Stephanie Kane, spokesperson for ATFI. “Increased transportation costs will affect companies’ decisions to operate and expand in the state. RhodeWorks’ 'toll taxes' will hurt area businesses and ultimately lead to job losses. These tolls, and those planned for the future, will eventually reroute prosperity around Rhode Island regardless of whether these toll taxes are only levied on trucks or all vehicles.”