Logan Airport Taxi Cab would like to inform our customers that the federal court has hit the brakes on the truck tolls in Rhode Island and agreed with the trucking industry’s long-haul complaint that the tolls were unjust and illegal.
Following U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith ordering Rhode Island officials to stop taking the truck tolls within 48 hours, Rhode Island Department of Transportation spokeswoman Lisbeth Pettengill Wednesday afternoon announced that the tolls will be shut off “probably by the end of the day.”
At that time, the governor. Dan McKee was still reviewing his options, and the administration was unsure if it would appeal the decision.
The state has earned $111 million in tolls for trucks since the first time they were introduced in 2018. With only a dozen toll points throughout the State, Rhode Island would lose around $40 million annually in revenue.
In a 91-page decision explaining the claim that Rhode Island is “little more than a speck in the speed lane that leads towards Cape Cod,” Smith said that in discriminating against trucks from outside the state and tolls, they placed an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce.
Rhode Island is the only state in the nation with a truck-toll system similar to that which Smith smashed down. The trucking industry has fought since 2018, primarily to stop other states from attempting their own.
On Wednesday, the industry gathered to celebrate.
In addition to the expense of establishing these tolls paid, the outside lawyer Adler Pollock & Sheehan PC $7.1 million in May to defend the state from the truckers who filed a lawsuit. The legal battle also included a fight to stop Raimondo and ex-House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello from having to provide depositions.
The tolls on trucks were the signature policy of the former governor. Gina Raimondo, currently U.S. commerce secretary, was one of her first major legislative initiatives after she came into office in 2015.
Before the toll law was adopted in the early months of 2016, lawmakers exempted all vehicles except tractor trailers, which include dump trucks and box trucks. The tolls were also set at $40 daily, and they only charged one car per direction at every gantry. The changes all benefited local businesses more than out-of-state companies.
“Rhode Island holds a valid – and even a compelling interest in the care of bridges that need repair,” Smith wrote. “But there’s no reason why interest cannot be met through a tolling system that does not violate commerce clauses. Many states are implementing tolling mechanisms which fairly distribute their costs to different users and are not discriminatory against commerce between states.”
The question of whether it is possible that the Rhode Island truck tolling system can withstand legal challenges if it charged all trucks that are heavy with no caps as was the initial plan – is not straightforward.
The state may request assistance from Congress However, that route is more uncertain.