PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced a plan Wednesday to repair the state’s crumbling bridges and roads by tolling large commercial trucks.
The Rhode Island Trucking Association was quick to condemn the proposal, saying it unfairly targets the trucking industry.
As part of the 10-year, $4.8 billion infrastructure plan, Gov. Raimondo is proposing to borrow $700 million to bring structurally deficient roads and bridges up to code. The state would then pay the money back by levying a “user fee” for commercial trucks in classes 6 through 13, which could go into effect as soon as the middle of next year.
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“They’re desperate to try and reach out to the trucking industry, and that’s not going to happen,” said Christopher Maxwell, CEO of the Rhode Island Trucking Association. “Trucking did not cause this problem. lack of funding did not cause this problem. What caused this problem is fiscal malfeasance over decades.”
Maxwell’s group doesn’t want to see tolling at all, saying it’s not the way to fund the state’s infrastructure.
Raimondo hasn’t said how much the tolls will cost, but Maxwell said he was told a run through the state would cost $40, which he believes will affect small businesses especially.
“That’s who’s going to get hit. The back and forth, the delivery truck, the dump truck,” said Maxwell. “The misconception again is that these are tractor trailers being tolled. That’s clearly untrue.”
Maxwell said his organization favors a gas tax instead of a toll.