The Rhode Island Trucking Association joined the American Trucking Associations (ATA) in praising State Representative Patricia Morgan’s bill to repeal the RhodeWorks toll law. Minority Leader Morgan introduced the legislation at the State House earlier this week.
“We thank Minority Leader Morgan for her leadership in introducing this important piece of legislation,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “As our industry knows well, interstate tolls are not the solution when it comes to funding infrastructure improvements—something we care deeply about. The unintended consequences are harsh and counterproductive: interstate tolls punish the local economy, increase traffic and congestion and waste taxpayer money.
“Moreover, the trucking industry will not sit idle while states attempt to turn our trucks into rolling ATMs,” Spear continued. “The onus is now on the Rhode Island legislature to correct this ill-conceived plan. ATA will take whatever steps are necessary to prevent these proposed tolls on overpasses, including litigation.
“We encourage Governor Raimondo and the legislature to follow the lead of states like California, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nebraska, Georgia or Wyoming, which in recent years demonstrated the political courage to take the tough vote and approve fuel tax increases with the understanding they remain the most effective and sustainable solution for highway infrastructure funding,” Spear said.
“Make no mistake about it: RhodeWorks won’t work for Rhode Island. It will increase the cost of doing business in our state, divert commerce away from it and actually widen our budget shortfalls,” said Rhode Island Trucking Association President and CEO Christopher Maxwell. “This is nothing but a veiled tax for Rhode Island citizens and one that places an unnecessary premium on every item sold in the state, thus making Rhode Island less competitive economically.
“We are all in agreement that additional revenues are needed to fund our roads and bridges. The trucking industry has always been willing to pay our fair share. It’s not a matter of if the industry pays, it is a matter of how the industry pays,” Maxwell continued. “As other states are realizing immediate gains from fuel tax increases, Rhode Island is losing out as we take a reckless gamble on something other than a tried and true funding mechanism.
“We strongly urge Speaker Mattiello to consider the damage this misguided policy will do to our state and economy, and support Representative Morgan’s bill,” Maxwell concluded.