Trucking industry files appeal on toll lawsuit


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The trucking industry is appealing a federal judge’s decision to throw out its lawsuit against Rhode Island’s truck-toll program.

The American Trucking Associations Inc. and its fellow plaintiffs — Cumberland Farms, M&M Transport Services and New England Motor Freight — filed a notice of appeal Thursday to have the case heard by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The move comes barely a week after U.S. District Chief Judge William Smith tossed the suit, saying the challenge should be brought in the state court system rather than the federal judiciary.

Rhode Island Trucking Association President and CEO Chris Maxwell declined to elaborate on the filing. In the end, it was headed to federal appellate court either way, he told WPRI 12 in an email.

The toll program is a central pillar of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s RhodeWorks infrastructure plan, a 10-year effort to do nearly $5 billion of bridge and road work, funded in part by new tolls on large commercial trucks. The industry argues the tolls unfairly single out tractor-trailers.

R.I. Department of Transportation officials have said the first two gantries are beating their expectations so far, though the delayed rollout of the full fleet of 14 planned gantries means less revenue has been coming in than initially expected. An additional 10 gantries are supposed to start coming online starting as soon as May.

Ted Nesi ( covers politics and the economy for He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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