After outrage from the trucking community, Rhode Island Republicans have offered up an alternative plan to counter Governor Gina Raimondo’s proposal to toll truckers to the tune of $100 million per year to pay for much needed highway maintenance.
ATA Says Trucking Industry Not At Fault for State’s Budget Woes
The new proposal comes partly as a response to complaints from the trucking industry, who say that they are already paying their fair share in registration fees and fuel taxes. The ATA blasted Raimondo’s plan, saying “trucking did not create the state’s current infrastructure crisis — that was the result of years of mismanagement and massive diversion of fuel tax and other highway user fee revenue to fund general government expenses.”
Republicans Criticize Raimondo’s Plan
The Republican counter amendment would take $60 million from the FY 2016 budget and use it to address the state’s bridges and overpasses, starting with the most structurally deficient ones first. They say that this is preferable to Raimondo’s plan to borrow over $700 million to address all of the state’s highway infrastructure issues all at once. Republicans say that the interest on Raimondo’s $700 million, an estimated $35 to $45 million, would cost more than actual bridge construction.
Representative Robert Lancia stated that the Republicans “are concerned about the impact taking $100 million a year from our trucking industry will have on consumer prices and on our economy as a whole.”