The implementation of new truck-only tolls in Rhode Island will “change the footprint” of commerce and the supply chain in the state and “will negatively affect retail establishments when trucks divert around tolls,” according to Rhode Island Trucking Association (RITA) President Chris Maxwell.

Maxwell made his comments recently at an informational rally in West Greenwich, R.I. that saw RITA joining with the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO) to oppose tolls.

Trucker groups rallied to oppose a Rhode Island toll plan

The rally was held just less than two weeks after the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) gave its approval to Rhode Island’s plan to institute Class 8 truck-only tolls to fund road and bridge repair.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed the measure, called the “RhodeWorks” plan, into law in February.

The plan applies only to Class 8 to Class 13 vehicles as listed by the FHWA vehicle classification schedule.

The typical truck-only toll would be $3, with a cap to cross the state via I-95 at $20. The daily maximum tolls collected on the same truck will not exceed $40.

At the rally, NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings said, “Tolls have been shown time and again to create traffic diversion as drivers, who detest tolls, seek to find alternative routes. That loss of traffic will very quickly create a harsh reality for consumers, employees and local communities.

Businesses will be forced to increase prices for goods sold, residents stand to lose jobs if businesses falter. Towns and communities will lose millions in tax revenues used to support schools, fire departments and other public services.”

NATSO says revenue from the tolls are supposed to go toward funding the repair and replacement of bridges in the state, but “there are no legal requirements that the money raised be used in this manner.”