Chris Maxwell, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Trucking Association, sharply criticized the state’s RhodeWorks plan arguing that it’s bad public policy that will hurt the state’s economy, drive up the costs of goods and jeopardize safety.
In a March 11 editorial in the Providence Journal, Maxwell said when done properly infrastructure investment creates a framework for businesses to succeed and grow, ultimately boosting the economy.
The “burdeonsome” and “inefficient” tolls that RhodeWorks seeks to impose on truck drivers will divert trucks around the state and onto back roads while increasing shipping costs for Rhode Island companies, Maxwell said.
The Rhode Island Trucking Association is a member of the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates (ATFI), of which NATSO is a founding member.
The RhodeWorks plan would implement truck-only tolls across 14 bridges throughout the state. No other state tolls only trucks and no state has tolled an entire network of Interstates. Rhode Island would be the first on both counts.
“RhodeWorks will have a detrimental fiscal impact on the state,” Maxwell said, “just as higher taxes do. Tolls are taxes. No matter the mechanism, tolls take money out of the hands of our businesses and residents just like income or sales taxes.”
Maxwell said if Rhode Island had raised gas and diesel taxes by about 9 cents, the state would have collected the same revenue as it will under the toll proposal. That 9 cent increase would cost the average car driver less than $1 per week.
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