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Trucking Leader Calls R.I. Tolls Plan ‘Extortion’

American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear called Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo’s trucks-only tolls plan “extortion” in a meeting in Riverside, R.I., according to news reports.

The plan, under the name RhodeWorks, would require commercial trucks to pay $3 at each of 14 toll booths around the state, up to a maximum of $20 per day, reported Transport Topics, a publication of the American Trucking Associations. The state legislature adopted the plan in February, but tolls have yet to be implemented. Spear met with members of the Rhode Island Trucking Association and other business people opposed to RhodeWorks on Aug. 24, Transport Topics reported.

The Rhode Island Trucking Association last year outlined its opposition to the plan and offered an alternative that it said would fix the state’s roads and bridges. The Association argued that the state’s plan involved construction of tolling gantries, which it said would cost the state of Rhode Island $43 million.

“We have always stated we want to be part of the solution, but tolls are not the answer,” Christopher Maxwell, president of the Rhode Island Trucking Association said last year in opposing RhodeWorks. RITA, as the association is known, had suggested, among other alternative steps, an 18-cent hike in the diesel fuel tax, to 52 cents, and an increase of $500 in the truck registration fee.

The Rhode Island Trucking Association, Inc. with over 500 members and 10,000 employees is a chartered, non-profit organization whose membership is made up of one-truck owners; fleet owners; private and for-hire motor carriers; and allied industries including manufacturers, dealers, service stations and suppliers. RITA is a member of the American Trucking Associations.

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