Rhode Island transportation officials say that they collected more revenue than expected in the first year of their controversial truck-only tolling program.
The Rhode Island Department of Transportion (RIDOT) reports that between June 11, 2018, and June 10, 2019, the agency collected $7.26 million from their two toll gantries located on I-95 in the southern part of the state.
RIDOT had predicted that they would bring in $7 million in truck toll revenue in their first year, so the actual amount of money collected slightly exceeded expectations.
RIDOT is opening up multiple new toll gantries over the course of the next year and expects to bring in $25 million in truck-only tolls next year.
Transportation officials recently installed a third toll gantry on Route 6 near Merino Park. After about a month of testing, tolling is slated to officially begin on August 13, according to the Providence Journal.
RIDOT explains that once all of the toll gantries are in place, the rates will vary: “The toll rates will vary from site to site, ranging from $2.00 to $9.50. The median cost is $3.50. 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.”
Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo’s controversial 2016 infrastructure funding plan involving tolling only trucks has been harshly criticized by the trucking industry. Raimondo says that tolling only Class 8 or higher vehicles is fair because are contributing more to infrastructure damage.
When the truck-only tolls were announced, many members of the trucking community said that they would go out of their way to avoid paying, but RIDOT says that there hasn’t been a significant diversion in truck traffic.