Rhode Island House approves truck-only tolls

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Rhode Island is one step closer in becoming the nation’s only state to implement a toll policy that targets trucks.

Following eight hours of debate Wednesday night, the Democrat-controlled Rhode Island House of Representatives voted 52-21 in favor of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s controversial plan to charge truckers toll fees to help pay for the state’s deteriorating bridges and roads.

Truckers gathered at the state house late Wednesday honked their horns in protest, according to the Associated Press. The Rhode Island Trucking Association (RITA) has warned lawmakers that truck drivers will avoid traveling through the state if the class 8 truck tolls are enacted.

RITA President Chris Maxwell has said that the state has not been fiscally responsible when it comes to maintaining its infrastructure and is making up for budget shortfalls by unfairly targeting a single industry for all of the state’s worn roads and bridges.

The bill will now move on to the Senate where Raimondo’s original bill was approved last year. A vote is expected tonight. The 14 proposed toll gantries, part of Raimondo’s 10-year $1.1 billion infrastructure improvement plan, will cost the state $43 million.

If approved, drivers of class 8 trucks will pay $20 to travel through the state along Interstate 95. Each electronic toll gantry a trucker passes under would cost about $3. The maximum daily charge would be $40.