ATA looking to block implementation of Rhode Island’s trucks-only toll plan

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The American Trucking Associations is asking the Federal Highway Administration to reject Rhode Island’s environmental assessment of the impact of trucks-only tolls because of what ATA deems as flaws in the state’s report.

ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said the group “will exhaust every legislative, regulatory and legal avenue to defeat the implementation of the tolling portion of RhodeWorks and prevent this cancerous proposal from spreading around the country.”

The assessment was published in November, and ATA identified several issues for FHWA to address with the Rhode Island DOT.

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ATA claims RIDOT asked FHWA for permission to first toll at only two locations, which allowed RIDOT to avoid the full publishing impacts of the full 14-toll system. ATA also says 94 percent of toll payments would be made by intrastate truckers traveling entirely within Rhode Island, per the state’s own research. RIDOT previously claimed most of the costs would be paid by out-of-state trucks, ATA says. Finally, ATA claims RIDOT overestimated revenue projections by nearly $20 million. ATA says an analysis that excluded enforcement and administrative costs estimated gross revenue would be $10 million lower than RIDOT’s proposal.

With RIDOT’s environmental assessment in hand, FHWA can either give RIDOT the green light to proceed with the tolling plan, or order further study of the environmental impacts.

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

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