Rhode Island recently proposed a truck-only toll on some of the state’s roads and bridges. The money would go towards rebuilding infrastructure that is in disrepair. The American Trucking Association (ATA) is fighting back, calling the toll unfair. If there is a toll, it should effect all vehicles that use the roads.
President and CEO of the ATA Bill Graves said, “As a former governor, I understand the importance of not only properly funding infrastructure, but maintaining the state’s fiscal house. However, this plan to toll only trucks is quite literally highway robbery — stealing from our industry to paper over Rhode Island’s budget issues.”
Many say that the truck-only toll makes sense because trucks do the most damage to roads and bridges because they weigh so much. Others wonder why the toll is not being imposed on all vehicles. The truck industry already pays higher taxes to the state and the additional toll is just one more hit to the trucking industry. The Northeast part of the country already has a high concentration of toll roads compared to other places in the U.S.
The truck-only toll plan would charge trucks a fee for traveling on routes 95, 195, 146, 295, 6, and 10. There would be no physical toll booths, though. Instead, each truck would be outfitted with a tracker to automatically collect the toll when the trucks use the routes.
Graves went on to state that many other states have enacted laws to protect revenues related to highways so that they cannot be used for non-highway projects. That way the tolls wouldn’t even be necessary. Rhode Island would have an accurate sense of their funding shortfalls, if they really exists. The truck-only toll is discriminatory and a form of tax scheme that is unfair to the trucking industry.