Today’s Pickup: Rhode Island begins installation of truck tolls

Welcome to RI.jpg

Good day,

After several delays, Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) workers have begun installing truck toll gantries in the state this week. The project, which will collect truck-only tolls at 12 locations in the state, is estimated to raise about $470 million in tax revenue over 10 years.

According to RIDOT, each of the 12 locations is associated with a bridge or bridge group and the tolling revenues will be used to repair or replace the bridge location it is associated with.

Toll rates will be limited to once per toll facility, per day in each direction. Toll rates have not been set yet but will be limited along the I-95 corridor at $20 for a border-to-border trip from Connecticut to Massachusetts, the state said. There also is a daily maximum toll of $40 per large commercial truck regardless of the number of toll gantries passed. The $20 and $40 caps require the use of a radio frequency identification transponder (such as E-ZPass). 

The Rhode Island Trucking Association (RITA) and the American Trucking Associations fought the installation of the tolls. RITA claimed RIDOT used an allegedly inadequate environmental assessment (EA), and asked the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) to reject the report.

RITA’s president and CEO Chris Maxwell voiced concerns about the report. “The Rhode Island Trucking Association and the American Trucking Associations have identified dozens of errors in RIDOT’s Environmental Assessment, which was published last month.

“We are calling upon the Federal Highway Administration to reject the EA and instruct RIDOT to publish a corrected report or to immediately order RIDOT to conduct an Environmental Impact that addresses the issues we pointed out in our analysis,” he added.

Among the concerns RITA raised were the constitutional issues about border tolls, traffic diversion onto local roads, and who would be paying for the tolls. RIDOT says that out-of-state trucks that currently do not pay any state fuel taxes but stress the highways will shoulder much of the burden, but RITA claims that “94% of toll payments will be made by trucks traveling entirely within the state or picking up or delivering to a location in Rhode Island and just 6% of payments will be made by trucks crossing the state without stopping.”

Did you know?

OOIDA has asked for an ELD exemption for trucking companies with safe driving records. According to FTR, 93% of one-truck operations operating over-the-road have no DOT-recordable crashes in the past two years. For all OTR trucking companies, 81% have no DOT-recordable crashes in the past two years.

Quotable:

“My personal feeling is it’s not likely to succeed, but it’s a nonzero chance. There is some chance that this could succeed, so we’ll have to watch.”

- Avery Vise, FTR vice president of trucking research, on the chances of an OOIDA-requested ELD exemption for trucking operations with no DOT-recordable crashes in the past two years

In other news:

Freight brokers see rising profits

The tightening of capacity is helping drive up profits of brokers as shippers look for someone to move their freight. (Wall Street Journal)

Walmart takes over DHL warehouse in Indy

Walmart has taken over a warehouse in Indianapolis that was previously operated by DHL Supply Chain, hiring the more than 500 workers at the facility. (Indianapolis Star Tribune)

ELD impact still not fully felt

According to FTR, the impact from the ELD mandate is still not being fully felt by the freight markets. (Fleet Owner)

Daimler begins production of medium-duty engine in U.S.

Daimler has begun producing vehicles with its DD8 7.7 liter medium-duty engine installed. (Trucks.com)

Food supply chain company introduces cryptocurrency

OriginTrail has introduced a cryptocurrency designed to improve transparency and security within the food supply chain. (Supply Chain Brain)

Final Thoughts

One of the impacts of the tight capacity and high rates has been to shippers with goods to move. It appears as though those shippers are turning to brokers to secure capacity, raising the profits of the middlemen and shifting the pressure. Like carriers, it appears to be a good time to be a broker, if not a stressful time.

Hammer down everyone!

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