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December 6, 2016 5:00 PM, EST

Rhode Island Soliciting Bids to Design, Build, Operate Trucks-Only Tolls

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation initiated a request for proposals process Dec. 5 for firms to design, build, operate and maintain the state’s planned trucks-only electronic tolls.

RIDOT said it expects to award a contract in the spring. Construction of the tolls will take about 18 months to build, meaning they’ll be completed by the end of 2018.

Trucks will pay $3 at each of 14 tolls around the state, up to a maximum of $20 per day. The revenue would help pay to replace and repair Rhode Island’s deficient bridges. The Ocean State has a higher percentage of those than any other state.

"Rhode Island has the worst bridges in America,” RIDOT director Peter Alviti said. “While tolling revenues will provide approximately 10% of RIDOT's overall funding, it is a vital component that allows us to fast-track bringing the state's bridges into a state of good repair within 10 years.”

RIDOT executed 13 Memoranda of Understanding with the Federal Highway Administration in October, one for each tolling location on state and interstate bridges. The MOU for the Providence Viaduct will be executed once the environmental mitigation requirements for the project are satisfied, RIDOT said.

Over the strong objections of some Republican legislators, the Rhode Island Trucking Association and American Trucking Associations, Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the nation’s first trucks-only tolling plan into law in February as part of her RhodeWorks transportation funding plan. 

“RIDOT's end game remains unfettered - getting gantries up as soon as possible and at all costs,” said RITA President Chris Maxwell. “We remain resolute in our opposition to truck-only tolling and remain optimistic that common sense policymaking by a new administration in Washington will head off this reckless scheme and negate the need for legal action.