R.I. begins collecting first tractor-trailer-only tolls; trucking associations plan legal challenge

Me Photo Headshot
Updated Jun 20, 2018
This graph shows the types of tractor trailers that will be tolled starting June 11 in Rhode Island. Source: CCJThis graph shows the types of tractor trailers that will be tolled starting June 11 in Rhode Island. Source: CCJ

Starting July 11, tractor-trailer drivers in Rhode Island will have to pony up $3.25 to $3.50 to pass through the state’s first tractor-trailer-only tolling stations.

Electronic tolling stations have been placed at two spots on Interstate 95 in the southwestern part of the state, with 12 more tolling locations to come during the next 18 months, according to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Cars and other vehicles are exempt from the tolls, which are designed to raise money to repair and maintain bridges where the tolls are placed.

“The tolls collected at each location in Rhode Island will go to repair the bridge or bridge group associated with that toll location,” RIDOT says.

RIDOT says it singled out tractor trailers because “studies show those vehicles cause the greatest amount of damage to roadways.”

The toll systems target tractor or truck tractors, pulling a trailer or trailers, deemed as Class 8 or above. Tolls will later be added on five other major highways in the state.

The Rhode Island Trucking Association fought the toll plan for three years and expects the American Trucking Associations to file a legal challenge.

“We’re ready to rumble and get some resolution to this problem,” Christopher Maxwell, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Trucking Association, told Go Local Prov. “We think we’ve got a pretty good case. … You can’t take a shared burden of a road that all cars and trucks of all weights and sizes use and segregate out one class of truck to shoulder the burden of infrastructure.”

One of the new tolls is one mile north of Exit 2 on I-95 for the Wood River Valley Bridge on the Richmond/Hopkinton line and will cost $3.25. The other toll is three miles south of Exit 5 for the Tefft Hill Trail Bridge and Baker Pines Bridge near the Exeter/Richmond line and will cost $3.50.

For tractor-trailers equipped with transponders such as E-ZPass, tolls are limited to once per day, per direction, RIDOT says. For tractor-trailers without a transponder, video detection systems generate an invoice for the registered owner of the vehicle.