Rhode Island to double truck-only toll rate at Providence gantry
February 12, 2020
Truckers driving on Interstate 95 in Rhode Island may have to pay twice as much at one toll gantry if the Rhode Island Department of Transportation has its way.
RIDOT is accepting comments for a proposed toll hike. The proposal will increase the toll rate at Gantry 4, located at the Oxford Street Bridge on I-95, from $2.25 to $4.50. Comments can be submitted to Dot.BridgeRepairTolls@dot.ri.gov or to the following address:
Jay McGinn, P.E.
Project Manager II RIDOT
2 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02903
Comments must be submitted by March 1. According to a public notice, the new toll rate will go into effect March 5.
During a radio segment on WPRO, Rhode Island DOT Director Peter Alviti explained that the department is not “jacking up the tolls.”
“At particular locations, we are increasing the toll amount,” Alviti said. “We only did that because we eliminated another location where we would have been collecting that toll anyway.”
More specifically, RIDOT was going to build another gantry where the viaduct is being built near Rhode Island Route 146. Those plans are on hold. RIDOT is either not going to build that gantry or will wait until viaduct construction is completed. In either scenario, the Oxford Street Bridge gantry will need to charge double for the state to earn the same expected revenue. The $4.25 rate will be permanent if another gantry is not built. If RIDOT moves forward with the gantry near 146, the toll rate at Oxford Street Bridge will move back down to $2.25.
Regardless of what happens with the gantry at 146, the total truck toll amount will not change. According to Rhode Island law established through RhodeWorks, the amount charged for driving the entire length of I-95 in the state cannot exceed $20.
The doubled rate at Oxford Street allows the state to collect that amount with one fewer gantry. Expected revenue will remain at $45 million, according to Alviti.
“We’re collecting the same toll amount, but we’re paying less for the number of gantries that we’re putting up,” Alviti said.
This is not the first time this has happened. Last August, RIDOT raised the toll rate for the gantry at the Woonasquatucket River Bridge on U.S. 6 from $2 to $5. Originally, RIDOT planned to build another gantry near the U.S. 6/Rhode Island Route 10 connector. During construction, the department decided to build only one gantry. Consequently, RIDOT assigned a new toll rate at the Woonasquatucket River Bridge equal to what would be collected with two gantries.
When the truck-only tolls were passed, RIDOT’s plans were for a total of 14 gantries. Revised plans include only 12 gantries. Currently, only six are fully operational. Original toll rates were calculated under the assumption 14 gantries would be built.
Meanwhile, Rhode Island is still in the middle of a court battle over the truck-only tolls. To date, an appellate court has ruled that the state must face the lawsuit after it reversed a lower court’s decision to dismiss the case.