Marking a major victory for NATSO members in the longstanding fight against tolling existing Interstate highways, a Federal judge ruled that Rhode Island’s truck-only tolling system known as “RhodeWorks” is unconstitutional and ordered the state to stop charging tolls on tractor trailers within 48 hours.
NATSO and the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates (of which NATSO is a founding member) have worked since 2018 to stop the “RhodeWorks” plan alongside the Rhode Island Trucking Association and the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
ATFI applauded the decision in a statement media saying, “This ruling validates what the American Trucking Associations, ATFI and so many other parties have said for years: The state cannot legally target the trucking industry with a tolling scheme. With its decision, the court has upheld the rule of law and saved Rhode Island families and businesses from bearing the brunt of punishing tolls that ripple through the economy of the state and region."
ATA, Cumberland Farms Inc., M&M Transport Services Inc. and New England Motor Freight sued Rhode Island arguing that the "RhodeWorks" plan violates the Constitution’s Commerce clause by discriminating against out-of-state economic interests.
The "RhodeWorks" plan sought to implement truck-only tolls across 14 bridges throughout the state. Rhode Island would have been the first state to toll only trucks and an entire network of Interstate highways.
Judge William E. Smith wrote in his ruling: "Because RhodeWorks fails to fairly apportion its tolls among bridge users based on a fair approximation of their use of the bridges, was enacted with a discriminatory purpose, and is discriminatory in effect, the statute’s tolling regime is unconstitutional under the dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution."
NATSO and ATFI worked closely with the Rhode Island Trucking Association to generate public awareness about the devastating effects that the "RhodeWorks" plan would have had on local businesses and commercial truck drivers that operate within the state of Rhode Island.
Public awareness efforts included hosting an informational rally and press conference at the TravelCenters of America in West Greenwich, Rhode Island.
Subscribe to Updates
NATSO provides a breadth of information created to strengthen travel plazas’ ability to meet the needs of the travelling public in an age of disruption. This includes knowledge filled blog posts, articles and publications. If you would like to receive a digest of blog post and articles directly in your inbox, please provide your name, email and the frequency of the updates you want to receive the email digest.