March 10, 2016 5:00 PM, EST

TAEC Moves 2018 Meeting Out of Rhode Island

Scott Eels/Bloomberg News
The trucking industry’s strenuous objection to Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo’s trucks-only tolling law has pushed the Trucking Association Executives Council to move its 2018 meeting out of the Ocean State.

That figures to cost Rhode Island more than a quarter of a million dollars, since New Hampshire, the last Northeastern state to play host to the meeting, earned more than that from the 2014 meeting, according to TAEC Region 1 Chairman Brian Parke.

TAEC is composed of staff executives of state trucking associations and conferences affiliated with American Trucking Associations. TAEC's four regions take turns playing host to the event, meeting this year in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, on July 11-14.

Parke, who also serves as CEO of the Maine Motor Transport Association, said the event typically attracts about 200 trucking leaders. In 2018, it will be switched from Newport, Rhode Island, to Rockport, Maine. 

“Our region didn’t think it was appropriate to bring state execs from all over the country to a place where the governor seems to not appreciate the trucking industry,” Parke said.

Rhode Island Trucking CEO Chris Maxwell, a fierce opponent of Raimondo’s RhodeWorks law, had worked with Newport’s business community and tourism industry to have TAEC meet there, but he didn’t fight the reality.

“We worked very hard to bring the leaders of our industry to Newport in 2018,” Maxwell said in a statement. “The tourism professionals in that town were incredibly supportive and accommodating in putting this together. I would put Newport in July up against any venue in the world; however, I had to defer to my peers in the industry who questioned the viability of this location given the egregious actions taken against the trucking industry by Gov. Raimondo and the Legislature through the passage of RhodeWorks.”

Under Raimondo’s RhodeWorks plan approved by legislators in February, Rhode Island would fund bridge repairs by borrowing $300 million against money coming to the state from the federal FAST Act, refinancing previous loans for another $120 million and gaining $45 million a year through 14 truck-only tolls.

Raimondo's reaction to TAEC pulling out: “I wasn’t aware of that, but I’m very pleased that Rhode Islanders will now have the money we need to rebuild our roads and bridges, put 6,000 people to work and make sure that great companies have good infrastructure.”