Debate set to resume on state’s trucks-only toll plan

Updated Jan 13, 2016

To toll or not to tollRhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo’s truck-only toll proposal faces increased opposition when legislators return to work this week.

The Republican Policy Group and will host a press conference and rally at the State House when session begins Tuesday. Lawmakers ended last session without passing RhodeWorks, Raimondo’s infrastructure funding plan to toll about two dozen bridges to back $600 million in bond revenue.

The Democrat’s proposal drew increased ire after the administration responded Dec. 16 to a records request from several organizations. An 1882 map was included among the jumble of immaterial documents and emails referencing toll location documents. But RIDOT withheld toll location documents, stating they are drafts and exempt from open records laws.

Last week, a Raimondo spokeswoman reportedly said preliminary information on toll gantry profit and locations would be released, but did not provide a timeline.

Several organizations have pitched alternatives to the 10-year, $1.1 billion improvement plan that tolls Class 8 trucks once per location and day.

The Rhode Island Trucking Association proposal excludes tolling, but would increase diesel tax and truck registration fees. The Republican Policy Group’s alternative is a “pay-as-you-go” plan that provides more significantly more funding than the governor’s plan.

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