EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The McKee administration has filed notice that it will appeal a federal judge’s decision on the state’s truck tolling program.
The Sept. 21 decision forced the R.I. Department of Transportation to halt the tolling of large tractor-trailers, after U.S. District Judge William Smith said the program violates the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause and federal law.
Gov. Dan McKee previously announced his administration would appeal the decision during a televised 12 News debate.
Christopher Maxwell, president of the Rhode Island Trucking Association, said Wednesday the judge’s ruling on the tolls’ unconstitutionality is ironclad.
“By appealing, Governor McKee now takes custody, control and responsibility for Gina Raimondo’s policy that illegally stole millions from the small businesses he once championed,” Maxwell said in a statement.
The decision comes after the trucking industry initially filed a federal lawsuit in 2018, arguing the program is unconstitutional because it targets one type of vehicle.
The lawsuit was dismissed, but the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision.
The truck tolls, launched by then-Gov. Gina Raimondo under her RhodeWorks plan, started in 2016. Since they began, the tolls have generated just under $100 million for road and bridge repairs around the state.
Ashley Kalus, McKee’s GOP opponent in the race for Rhode Island governor, released a statement criticizing his decision to appeal. She believes the judge’s ruling will be upheld and the state shouldn’t spend any more money to appeal “an unconstitutional law.”