Rhode Island Bridges To Begin Truck Only Tolls
The bridges in Rhode Island are undoubtedly in the worst shape, but this impression is not likely to last long. The state has announced that it will begin tolling trucks and use the money collected to fix the structurally-deficient bridges.
The plan was adopted earlier this month and signed off by Gina Raimondo. According to many agency reports, tractor trucks are the major cause of road damage and must therefore pay for it. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) hopes that once the collection of tolls begins, they will most likely be raising approximately $45 million a year.
That money accompanied by the agency’s $420 million funding will be used to repair or replace as many as 600 bridges in the following decades. That will hopefully lessen the percentage of structurally damaged bridge to 10.5% from what it is right now (23%), says Charles St. Martin, RIODT spokesman.
Patrick Jones, the head of Tunnel and Turnpike Association, said, “Trucks are the vehicles that impose the greatest amount of damage on the highways. In fact, when you’re building the highways, you’re building them to handle heavy trucks.” Appreciating the stance of the state, he further stated, “It is probably the only state that is imposing tolls only on trucks, not on all vehicles,” he said. “However, if you look at the entire world, it’s not uncommon.”
But it is not all good news. There are many companies and analysts who are opposing the idea to the very core.
Stephanie Kane, spokeswoman for the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates, believes that tolling the trucks will result in companies leaving Rhode Island and its businesses. “While the governor heralds RhodeWorks as a jobs booster, the reality is that it harms Rhode Island businesses and will cost Rhode Island jobs,” she remarked.
The tolls will be collected electronically via E-ZPass transponders. RIDOT agency believes that the running and maintenance of the tolling operations will only take up 5% of the overall revenue. “This application of new technology has made it feasible for the DOT to implement tolls on many bridges that were uneconomical in the past,” St. Martin stated.
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