The Rhode Island State Traffic Commission has denied a request from the state’s Department of Transportion to ban trucks from 14 roads in a seeming attempt to force truckers to use toll roads.
Though this is a small victory for trucking, RIDOT’s request will be taken up again by the commission in the next few weeks.
RIDOT has denied that the truck ban has anything to do with tolls. They say that the truck ban is instead about preserving quality of life and maintaining the roads.
Read our original report on RIDOT’s attempt to ban trucks from several secondary roads below.
Rhode Island officials are considering a proposal that would ban tractor trailers from certain state roads, making it much more difficult for them to avoid the state’s controversial truck-only toll roads.
Truck-Only Toll Sparks Outcry Among Truckers
The truck-only toll legislation was signed into law by Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo in February of 2016 in spite of strong outcry from the trucking industry. Raimondo justified tolling only truck drivers (many of whom are from out-of-state) because she says that they do most of the damage to Rhode Island’s infrastructure.
The plan is expected to raise $45 million per year to fund repairs of the state’s roads and bridges. Only truckers will be asked to pay the tolls, which will start collecting money around the end of the year. It could cost a truck driver as much as $20 to cross the state using I-95 when toll collection begins.
Many truckers have vowed to avoid Rhode Island to protest the tolls. Others have said that they would find a way around paying the tolls if they did enter Rhode Island.
Ban Would Forbid Trucks On 14 Roads
Today the Rhode Island State Traffic Commission (RISTC) will consider a request from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to ban truck traffic on 14 different stretches of roadway throughout the state. WPRI comments that “An Eyewitness News review of the proposed locations shows that many of the routes would allow truckers to get around the proposed toll gantry locations, although RIDOT did not cite that as a reason for the request.”
The RISTC notes that trucks would be allowed on the roads “for the purpose of reaching the National Network from these roads, reaching a local area, or to access food, rest, fuel, or repairs…”
The RISTC was scheduled to consider the proposed truck ban at 9:30 this morning.
The Rhode Island Trucking Association has promised to file suit over the truck-only tolls.