Rhode Island Department of Transportation says that the agency plans to begin issuing controversial truck-only tolls in December, with toll bills being sent out as early as January.
Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti told WPRI that he supports RhodeWorks bill – which calls for tolling large commercial trucks to pay for repairs of crumbling infrastructure – and he also told lawmakers that the target date was to get the first toll gantry up and running by the end of 2017.
He further explained,
“We are proceeding through the Federal Highway [Administration] environmental permitting process now and all of our consultants and all of our contractors are working on that date…. We are on time and on a budget to make that date.”
Others think that the timeline for this project may be wishful thinking.
The president of the Rhode Island Trucking Association emailed saying:
“I wouldn’t bank on gantries going up this year. Much like the governor’s name on the signs, RIDOT has taken many liberties with RhodeWorks due to the local FHWA office essentially being asleep at the switch.”
He also commented:
“The Washington Feds seem to be dictating that RIDOT dial back on some of its messaging and some key provisions of the program.”
Even though there might be a plan in place, no plan can account for every variable. The first toll is set to be placed on the Hopkinton/Richmond line for the Wood River Valley Bridge, carrying I-95 over Mechanic Street. The second is to be further north up I-95 on the Exeter/Richmond line at the Tefft Hill Trail Bridge.
Of the 12 remaining toll gantries, the state has identified 10 locations.
The state has a 10-year contract with toll company worth $69 million. The expected amount collected by the new tolls is estimated to be about $45 million.
You can click here to read more about Rhode Island’s truck-only toll plan.