Proposed changes to highway funding in Rhode Island look set to be a contentious issue as we wrote about a few weeks ago here on the expeditedfreight.com blog. This week we see the next round in this developing story as state lawmakers are now reviewing a revised version of the bill which adds hefty tolls to commercial trucks transporting freight through or within the state.
The new bill has cut the proposed costs for truckers who are active in The Ocean state as a piece of the giant infrastructure proposal entitled RhodeWorks. The revisions will lower the bond authorization from an initial $700 million down to $500 million. In response the Rhode Island Trucking Association has requested a full and proper study of how the plan could impact the trucking industry in the region.
This latest round of considerations are expected to result in an updated announcement by the end of this week. Such scenarios are likely to play out in many other states as the rising need for infrastructure investment will need to be balanced with economic considerations on a local, statewide and regional basis.
As for the revisions to date, the cost for a state crossing for commercial vehicles was reduced from a maximum of $50 down to $30 and standard toll amounts will on average drop from $6 to about $3.50. The consequence of that quite naturally is that repair and improvement projects statewide will take that much longer to complete.
We'll continue to watch how this story develops as it may be a good indicator of how the trucking sector will be financially impacted in many other states that follow the lead of Rhode Island.
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