PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Trucking company M&D Transportation of North Kingstown has more than 40 employees and $6 million in gross revenue, all of it from customers based outside of Rhode Island, co-founder Michael Collins told state lawmakers Feb. 4.
The company used to have Rhode Island-based customers, Collins said, but they all have gone elsewhere because of the high cost of doing business.
If Rhode Island creates a network of tolls on large commercial trucks, Collins said it likely will send M&D out of the state as well.
"The 'toll' proposal will cost my business in excess of $200,000 annually and will ultimately put us out of business or force us to leave the state," Collins wrote in a pamphlet on behalf of the Rhode Island Trucking Association. "I will not let you put me out of business, so I will choose the [latter] if we have to."
Collins was one of a host of people in the trucking industry or connected industries who turned out to testify Feb. 3-4 on the toll-financed bridge repair plan put forward by state leaders.
While many companies and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce support the RhodeWorks borrowing plan, some testifying Feb. 4 described it as a existential threat to their businesses or factor that could drive them from Rhode Island to more hospitable climates.
Tom Byrne of TW Byrne Transport in Warwick said it could force him to relocate to Florida, where the majority of his business comes from anyway.
"Why am I being singled out?" Byrne asked while waiting in the State House hallway to testify.
Byrne pointed out that many construction company vehicles, such as dump trucks, are heavier than tractor trailers but will not be tolled.