Rhode Island appeals federal judge’s truck tolls decision

This is an image of truck tolls on the Seekonk River Bridge in Providence. (WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Rhode Island Department of Transportation filed an appeal Wednesday against a federal judge’s decision last month to turn off trucking tolls in the state.

The 2018 lawsuit by the American Trucking Associations argued that the tolls were unconstitutional. They said it was a discriminatory and disproportionate burden on out-of-state operators and truckers.

On Sept. 21, U.S. District Judge William Smith ruled that the tolling program violated the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Following Smith’s ruling, the Department of Transportation turned off the tolls.

The tolls were installed as part of fomer-Gov. Gina Raimondo’s “RhodeWorks” plan, which aimed to fund deteriorating bridges and roads throughout Rhode Island.

In response to Wednesday’s appeal, the Rhode Island Trucking Association said that “McKee now takes custody, control and responsibility for Gina Raimondo’s policy that illegally stole millions from the small businesses he once championed.”

Chris Maxwell, president of the trucking association, said that if McKee does not support any revised form of tolling legislation, it “will tell you all you need to know about that person’s position on tolls.”

The Department of Transportation initially expect the tolls to bring in over $45 million each year. However, they’ve brought in under $100 million total since their installation.

Two tolls were installed back in 2018. Since then, there have been a total of 12 put into action throughout the state.

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