Rhode Island to appeal court's ruling of unconstitutional truck tolls

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022:

Rhode Island appeals court’s ruling on truck-only toll plan

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority and Peter Alviti Jr., director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, filed a notice of appeal Oct. 19 to challenge a District Court’s decision to rule the state’s truck-only toll plan unconstitutional.

The notice was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston. Rhode Island had 30 days from the district court’s decision on Sept. 21 to file an appeal. Now, the state has until Dec. 12 to file a brief on the appeal.

In ruling the tolls unconstitutional, U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith said the tolls violated the Constitution’s Commerce Clause by discriminating against out-of-state economic interests in order to favor in-state interests, and by designing the tolls in a way that "does not fairly approximate" in-state motorists' "use of the facilities under any relevant measurement."

The state has been collecting the tolls, which ranged from $2.25 to $9.50, since 2018 at 12 locations along I-95 with a 13th in the works.

[Related: Rhode Island truck-only tolls finally defeated in court]

I-30 closing this weekend near Little Rock

Construction on Interstate 30 in Little Rock and North Little Rock will require a weekend full closure this weekend.

As part of the 30 Crossing project, construction crews will install structural steel at the 6th Street bridge over I-30 in Little Rock. Weather permitting, crews will temporarily close all lanes of traffic on I-30 from 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, through 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 14.

I-30 WB will be closed from the I-30/I-40 interchange in North Little Rock to I-630 in Little Rock. I-40 traffic will not have access to I-30 WB.

I-30 EB will be closed between I-630 and the Arkansas River Bridge.

WB drivers can detour to I-430 South (Exit 147) and return to I-30, or to I-440 West (Exit 159A) and return to I-30, while EB traffic will detour at Exit 140 and take the northbound frontage road to the 4th Street on-ramp to access the river bridge and I-30 in North Little Rock.

Insights into small fleets' driver retention success, failure

The SmartHop dispatch/small fleet management software provider recently surveyed small fleet owner-operators and, earlier in the year, drivers in its network toward a research goal of helping its customers improve retention of their best drivers amid strong headwinds these days in the form of lower spot rates, higher costs for insurance and fuel, and driver turnover.  

Some highlighted findings from the full report:  

  • 44% of small fleet owners have lost 10% or fewer drivers in the past year
  • For those who left, the most common place they went was to a large trucking company (28%)
  • Small fleet owners are most concerned about losing drivers aged 25-34 (40%) and 36-45 (33%) 

 Those interested in digging into SmartHop's findings can download the full report via this link. 

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