FHWA agrees with Rhode Island’s truck-only bridge tolling

Updated Oct 10, 2016
The McCormick Quarry Bridge in East Providence.The McCormick Quarry Bridge in East Providence.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has executed 13 Memorada of Understanding with the Federal Highway Administration, indicating the federal agency agrees with the state’s bridge tolls on heavy commercial trucks. The tolls provide part of the funding to bridge repairs under the RhodeWorks program.

RhodeWorks, signed into law in February, provides for the repair of more than 150 structurally deficient bridges as well as an additional 500 bridges to prevent them from reaching that condition. Officials estimate this plan will bring 90 percent of the state’s bridges into “structural sufficiency” by 2024 and will create 6,000 new construction jobs.

Tolls are on heavy commercial trucks classified within Class 8 single 19 trailer, three or four axles up to and including Class 13 seven or more axle multi-20 trailer trucks. They will average $3 at 14 gantries across the state, with a per day cap of $20 in each direction for a truck crossing the state. Tolls will not be collected on any other vehicles.

“For too long, our state kicked the can down the road on infrastructure, allowing our roads and bridges to crumble and fall into total disrepair,” says Gov Gina Raimondo. “With RhodeWorks, leaders came together to put an end to the politics of procrastination and take action to keep people safe. With the partnership and approval of the federal government, we are going to keep moving forward as quickly as we can to deliver the infrastructure Rhode Islanders deserve.”

RIDOT says the MOUs state the federal government “hereby agrees the Toll Project meets the toll eligibility requirements of 23 U.S.C. 129 (a) (1),” the applicable federal law. â€śA 14th MOU for the Providence Viaduct will be executed once the existing environmental mitigation requirements for the project are satisfied,” the agency reports.

RIDOTs next steps include soliciting proposals for design, build, operation and maintenance of the tolling system. It expects to send out request for proposals in late November and would like to beginning bringing in toll revenue by 2018.