The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) said Dec. 20 that it would construct another 10 truck-only tolling gantries on Interstate 95 after the Federal Highway Administration reviewed its environmental assessment and issued a “Finding of No Significant Impact.”
The agency said the first location is expected to be completed and active by May 2019 and that all 10 should be in place by May 2020.
The truck-only tolls are strongly opposed by NATSO, the American Trucking Associations, the Rhode Island Trucking Association and the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates.
Federal law generally prohibits new tolls on existing interstate highway lanes. In an unprecedented bureaucratic maneuver, RhodeWorks authorized the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to toll commercial vehicles across bridges within the state using an exemption that allows states to charge tolls for ailing bridges. Although revenue is supposed to go toward funding the repair and replacement of bridges throughout the state, there are no legal requirements that the money raised be used in this manner.
RIDOT opened the first two of 14 truck-only tolling gantries on Interstate 95 in June 2018.
ATA, along with Cumberland Farms Inc., M&M Transport Services Inc. and New England Motor Freight, subsequently asked a federal court to rule Rhode Island’s RhodeWorks truck-only toll scheme unconstitutional, arguing it discriminates against interstate trucking companies and impedes the flow of interstate commerce.
RIDOT filed a motion to dismiss that lawsuit.
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