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Tolling Points

Rhode Island Rolls Out Its First-Ever Truck Tolls

By: 
Bill Cramer

The State of Rhode Island hit an oversized milestone June 11, when its first-ever truck tolls went into effect at two locations along interstate highway 95.

The two gantry-based tolling points in the southern part of the state are expected to produce $7.2 million in annual revenue, the Providence Journal reports. And they’re just the first in a network of more than a dozen toll locations that will go live over the next 18 months, pending environmental approval from the Federal Highway Administration.

“When they’re all in operation, the tolls are expected to collect $450 million over 10 years,” the Journal notes. That makes the tolls an important component of Governor Gina Raimondo’s ambitious, decade-long Rhode Works initiative to clear a big backlog in the state’s highway maintenance program.

“This will provide the sustainable, dependable, and reliable funding we need,” Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti Jr. told media earlier this month.

Big Moves from the Smallest State

When Governor Raimondo and state legislators brought Rhode Works into being in 2016, IBTTA applauded them for making a decisive move to deliver safer, more reliable mobility.

“With the passage of Rhode Works, the smallest state in the nation has taken the most significant action to address their infrastructure needs with both a reasonable plan and a steady revenue stream to repair and maintain Rhode Island’s deteriorating bridges,” Executive Director and CEO Patrick Jones said at the time.

"While the gas tax has been a solid tool to fund roads and bridges in the past, it isn’t enough today,” he added. “This is a bold move to maintain major infrastructure, keep residents of Rhode Island safe, and grow the economy. Other states, including nearby Connecticut, are watching.”

IBTTA also pointed out the importance of consistent, relentless local advocacy to make the case for tolling.

“The progression of the debate in the Rhode Island State House showed the value of collecting data, marshalling your arguments, then patiently, persistently making your case,” the Tolling Points blog noted. “Local news coverage identified at least one state legislator who initially opposed the tolling measure, but eventually became one of its staunchest supporters.”

Programs like Rhode Works show the power of state-level advocacy! Visit IBTTA’s Moving America Forward campaign page to find out more.

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