By WPRO News
Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti reiterated on Thursday that a lawsuit over the RhodeWorks truck tolling program was expected. However, he maintains that the state’s taxpayers and those who register their cars here have been paying disproportionately more for road repairs than trucking companies.
“Our contention is that they pay these tolls up and down the eastern seaboard everywhere else,” he told WPRO’s Gene Valicenti. “For decades, these large tractor trailer companies have been getting a free ride across the state highways in Rhode Island. They’ve been paying nothing.”
The American and Rhode Island Trucking Associations sued RIDOT over the tolls this week, asking a federal court to rule the “truck-only toll scheme” unconstitutional. They argued the toll program “discriminates against interstate trucking companies and impedes the flow of interstate commerce.”
The lawsuit was filed in Providence federal court by Virginia-based American Trucking Associations and claims Rhode Island Department of Transportation tolls violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.The Associations, along with Cumberland Farms Inc., M&M Transport Services Inc. and New England Motor Freight, are asking for an injunction to stop the tolls and repayment of legal fees.
Alviti also tells Valicenti there’s no evidence that big rigs are using local roads to skirt the first two tolling locations. He says the state is moving forward with developing 10 additional gantry locations.
RIDOT has posted solicitation for public comment on those new locations for toll gantries “on I-95, I-195, I-295, US Route 6, and RI Route 146 in Warwick, Providence, Pawtucket, Cranston, Johnston, Cumberland, East Providence, Lincoln, and North Smithfield.” The public hearings will be held at 6 pm on July 27 at three different locations: Toll Gate High School in Warwick, Mount Pleasant High School in Providence, and Central Falls High School.