Rhode Island DOT claims its toll hike is not really a toll hike

February 13, 2020

Terry Scruton


Riddle me this, Batman: When is a toll hike not a toll hike? Apparently only when it’s being charged to truckers.

That seems to be the logic at work in Rhode Island as the state DOT considers doubling the tolls at one of its truck-only tolling gantries in Providence. The rate on this one would go from $2.25 to $4.50. That looks an awful lot like a toll hike to me.

But it isn’t. At least, not according to RI DOT Director Peter Alviti. Alviti told a local radio show this week that it’s not really a toll increase because the initial plan called for 14 gantries. And, since they’re only putting in 12, they are simply collecting the money they would have gotten at those other gantries anyway.

Holy twisted logic, Batman!

You couldn’t do that in any other business in the world without getting laughed out of the room. Let’s say I’m opening a business in two locations in town. I live in Kansas City, so let’s make it a barbecue joint. At the last minute I decide I’m only going to open the one location because two would cost too much. But wait, all my original budgeting was for two locations. What to do? Oh, I know, I can start charging double for ribs and burnt ends at my one location because, hey, folks were going to buy that stuff at the second location anyway, right? Isn’t that how this works?

No, of course it isn’t. Because that would be insane. What Alviti is suggesting is truly a scheme worthy of Gotham’s greatest villains.

He went on to say that it all evens out in the end and that the tolls are still capped at $20 a day to drive the entire I-95 corridor through the state one way. If you have to go back the other way in that same day, it’ll cost you another $20. I’m not sure who things are evening out for in Alviti’s view, but it sure isn’t the truck drivers.

Yeah, maybe $40 a day doesn’t sound like much. But if you have a route that takes you up and down I-95 every day, that adds up to $200 for a five-day work week. That, in turn, adds up to $800 a month. Multiply that by the number of trucks that go through Rhode Island every day and it becomes very clear who’s getting even – and who has the odds stacked against them.

If this all sounds like a bad idea, here’s a good one: comments on Rhode Island’s proposal are open until March 1. You can mail them here:

Jay McGinn,

P.E. Project Manager II


2 Capitol Hill Providence, RI 02903

Or e-mail them to: Dot.BridgeRepairTolls@dot.ri.gov

Let’s do it, caped crusaders. Biff! Bam! Pow! Make your voices heard. Will the Rhode Island DOT be successful in scamming truckers out of even more money? Will Peter Alviti come to his senses before it’s too late? Tune in next time to find out. Same Bat Time! Same Bat Channel!


Terry Scruton also writes the Roses & Razzberries column in Land Line Magazine.

WW Williams

Terry Scruton brought nine years of journalism experience when he joined Land Line Magazine in 2005, and that experience continues to serve him on the radio show. Terry’s must-read “Roses & Razzberries” is also a popular feature with Land Line Now listeners.