RITA says truckers will avoid state if tolls go up

By Alana Cerrone

acerrone@abc6.com

@Alana_Cerrone

The Rhode Island Trucking Association takes matters into its own hands with a warning to Governor Gina Raimondo about her proposed truck toll plan.

RI Trucking Association President Christopher Maxwell says, "our diversion theory is real – trucks that are targeted are in fact not going to come through Rhode Island."

The association released a survey of truck drivers in the northeast in light of Governor Raimondo’s plans for 14 gantry locations throughout the state.

Their results? 77% of the truckers who answered said they would rather alter their route just to avoid paying tolls in RI.

In fact 61% say they already avoid other states with similar tolls.

“This is the same population the governor is targeting to sustain roadworks…but ¾ of them have indicated they won’t be here. The burden will now fall upon Rhode Island carriers and Rhode Island businesses."

Maxwell says the Truckers Association feels like they’re being singled out.

"There’s no other state in this country who tolls trucks only."

Governor Raimondo disagrees, "almost every single state from Maryland to Maine tolls trucks."

She says the tolls proposed here are only $20.

"They didn’t stop going over the George Washington Bridge because it cost over $100…"

Her main focus is fixing the roads and bridges.

"I’m doing my job which is to protect the people of Rhode Island and get Rhode Islanders back to work – and this proposal does that."

The Trucking Association has proposed their plan, which includes raising diesel tax and truck registration fees, which they say will raise nearly $300 million.

Governor Raimondo says she is still awaiting a serious solution.

"Their proposal is almost laughable…you cant fix this with a million or two dollars."

(C) WLNE-TV 2016