Tolling for trucks in Rhode Island to begin June 11

One of Rhode Island’s truck toll gantries along I-95 (Image: Brian Straight)

On Monday, June 11th, 2018, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) will officially begin tolling “tractor-trailers to pass two locations on Interstate 95,” as reported by the Providence Journal.

According to the RIDOT, “The RhodeWorks bridge tolling program is a unique approach to repairing bridges by tolling only specific types of tractor trailers,” as indicated in the diagram below:

 Vehicles shaded in grey will not be tolled, while vehicles shaded in white will be tolled in two places along I-95.  (Image: Rhode Island Department of Transportation)
Vehicles shaded in grey will not be tolled, while vehicles shaded in white will be tolled in two places along I-95. (Image: Rhode Island Department of Transportation)

“The tolls collected at each location in Rhode Island will go to repair the bridge or bridge group associated with that toll location,” RIDOT reports. This announcement comes two years after RIDOT introduced RhodeWorks, which “provides for the planning, execution, management and funding to bring the state’s roads and bridges into a state of good repair by 2025.”

When asked if there are plans in place to begin tolling other vehicles on the road, RIDOT is clear: no. As RIDOT explains, “The rationale behind the RhodeWorks tolling program was to toll the vehicles that caused the damage that needs to be repaired.”

Toll amounts will vary “from site to site, ranging from $2.00 to $9.50. The median cost is $3.50.” The two tolls that will begin charging vehicles on Monday will support construction on “the I-95, Wood River Valley Bridge (over Mechanic Street)” and “the Baker Pines Bridge (I-95 over Route 3) and the Tefft Hill Trail Bridge (I-95 over Tefft Hill Trail).” These tolls will be collected via E-Z Pass, and “those without a valid E-ZPass will receive a bill that can be paid by check or credit card.”

Located in the southwestern corner of Rhode Island, these tolls will charge $3.25 and $3.50, respectively. “For RFID (i.e. E-ZPass) equipped tractor trailers, tolls are limited to once per day, per direction and there is a cap of $20 for a through-trip on I-95 as well as a daily cap of $40 per day no matter how many tolls a tractor trailer goes through.”

“The two locations in the southern part of the state will collect $7.2 million in tolls annually, officials estimate.” RIDOT plans to construct as many as a dozen more gantries across the state through RhodeWorks. RIDOT notes that “Rhode Island ranks last in the U.S. in overall bridge condition,” and its director anticipates the tolls will “provide the sustainable, dependable and reliable funding we need.”

In forecasting the impact of the charges, Christopher Maxwell, president of the Rhode Island Trucking Association remarked that the tolling is “going to increase our consumer good costs and our cost of living. Everything we eat, drink, wear watch and drive is delivered by truck. It’s going to hurt our economy.”

David Heller, vice president of government affairs at the Truckload Carriers Association says that “the toll in this instance is just not a good thing,” noting that it is “definitely targeting the trucking industry.” He pointed to the unfairness of the charges against trucks in particular: “The cars on the road with them are not being tolled, but they’re causing the same amount of damage as the trucks.”

“We need to look at these things and make sure it’s right way” to approach the issues at hand, Heller concluded.

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Maria Baker, Staff Writer

Maria is a staff writer who has covered everything from the environment to sign-on bonuses and women in the industry. She is a recent graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South, where she majored in English literature and minored in environmental studies. Maria loves writing about freight almost as much as she loves Emily Dickinson and the self-imposed challenge of finding the best iced mocha in Chattanooga.

One Comment

  1. Trucks already pay more than their share of highway tax and fuel tax, this is discrimination and should be challenged in court.

  2. Why does EVERYONE have to stretch the truth?! Claiming that classes 6 and 7 don’t damage the roads?! Please! Then on the other side of the conversation claims that cars cause as much damage as trucks?! That’s just stupid.

  3. These states that cannot manage their budgets and repair their roads. What happened to all the IFTA taxes paid ONLY BY TRUCKS?? We are taxed twice on every gallon of fuel that we buy. Then we get the privilege of paying tax money on a quarterly basis to states thay we drive thru. Where is the tax money that the state collexted at the pump when I paid $3.65 per gallon?? I have had it with these piss poor money managers that reach into all truckers pockets when they are short money. Whenever these new taxes/tolls/fees are added by any state, we should put a $1000.00 surcharge on top of the freight bill just to go there. Either that or REFUSE to go to said states. Let their shit rot on the 3pl dock. I am tired of funding their mismanagement. Fuck em.