Truckers “Not Avoiding” Truck-Only Tolls Helps RIDOT Beat Revenue Projections
Providence, Rhode Island – Officials with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced this week its truck-only tolling program, known as RhodeWorks, exceeded revenue projections in its first year of operation.
In a press conference on Tuesday, RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said the program collected $7.26 million during the first year.
RIDOT projected revenues of $7 million and now project the highly controversial big rig tolling plan will rake in $25 million in the next fiscal year.
Alviti reported truckers are not avoiding the tolling locations in the numbers RIDOT officials expected.
“We had been conservative on our estimates of what we expected for diversions. Since less diversion is actually happening, it resulted in a slight increase in revenue,” Alviti said.
The RhodeWorks program continues to be strongly opposed by trucking stakeholders as “unconstitutional.”
The 10-year plan to spend nearly $5 billion repairing and upgrading Rhode Island’s decaying infrastructure has been put primarily on the back’s of truckers to pay for.
In March, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and three carriers against Rhode Island’s RhodeWorks truck-only toll program, citing “a lack of jurisdiction.”
ATA has since filed an appeal in the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and contends the truck-only toll scheme is unconstitutional because it discriminates against interstate trucking companies and impedes the flow of interstate commerce.
Arguments are scheduled to be heard in the case in September of this year.
RIDOT officials continue to express their optimism that U.S. courts will side with them.
“We did our due diligence prior to proceeding with the project,” Alviti said on Tuesday.
RIDOT spokeswoman Lisbeth Pettengill said at the time of the plan’s announcement, “The rationale behind the RhodeWorks tolling program was to toll the vehicles that caused the damage that needs to be repaired.”
It’s expected to go into operation on August 13, according to Alviti.
RIDOT plans to add a new gantry about every month.
However, Alviti says RIDOT decided not to move forward with construction of one of the two planned gantry’s along Route 6.
It was originally slated to be located on the Route 6/10 connector.
He says it will save the state $2.5 million in construction costs and will result in the same revenue since the new gantry on Route 6 will be a $5 toll.
Stay with TransportationNation.com for the latest on trucking’s ongoing legal battle with RIDOT.