Trucking Association offers no-toll alternative to the state’s Rhode Works plan

Plan to provide predictable revenue to address deteriorating roads and bridges

Earlier this year, OOIDA and the Rhode Island Trucking Association blasted the state’s Rhode Works toll plan claiming it is anti-business. The state’s plan would toll trucks $100 million a year to pay for bridge repairs, bus and rail service, bike lanes and sidewalks. As far as truckers are concerned, the state’s RhodeWorks plan is unfair and nothing more than double taxation in the form of a ‘user fee’ for Trucks only. Federal law prohibits tolls on any roads or bridges funded by federal fuel taxes and other taxes going into the Highway Trust Fund so to get around that an electronic user fee would be imposed.

RI Trucking Association President Chris Maxwell says, “lawmakers have failed to address the real problem – that of diverting road and bridge funds to other uses.” Maxwell told Land Line Magazine. “There’s fiscal malfeasance and mismanagement, to begin with, of the funds that are there. The general public is hearing, hey, bad trucks are damaging the roads. They’re not hearing that we’re in this pickle because there’s been a runaway train with the funding that’s there being diverted elsewhere to everything but roads – 40 or so percent of the moneys that are being retained.”

In an effort to avoid the typical backlog and delay associated with political battles among legislators, RITA decided to take a proactive approach and come up with their own plan.

“Our plan brings a predictable revenue stream to address Rhode Island’s deteriorating roads and bridges without the uncertainty and risk contained in the RhodeWorks proposal,” said Maxwell. “There are certain traffic assumptions contained in the RhodeWorks proposal that we believe are not accurate and will greatly affect projected revenue streams.

The Plan

RITA’s plan to improve roads is as follows:

  • Increase the diesel tax by 18 cents – produces $10.8 million annually. Current diesel tax is .34 cents. Connecticut’s gas tax is .55 cents.
  •  Increase Truck registration fee by $500 per year – will produce 1.6 million annually. Rhode Island currently has the lowest truck registration fee in New England.
  • Ask the state to rescind tax credits currently being proposed –reverts funds back to original purpose of bridge and road maintenance $13.5 million annually.
  • Refinance GARVEE bonds will produce $121 million in first four years – also currently proposed in RhodeWorks.

The trucking plan infographic below highlights the key points in the debate.

Trucking Alternative Plan