Breaking News - On September 21, 2022, the United States District Court for Rhode Island ruled that the State of Rhode Island’s truck-only tolling plan (known as RhodeWorks) was unconstitutional.
The trucking industry, represented by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and three co-plaintiffs (Cumberland Farms, M&M Transport Services and New England Motor Freight), filed the suit in 2018. They argued that the RhodeWorks plan violates the Constitution’s Commerce Clause by discriminating against out-of-state trucking companies and by designing the tolls in a way that does not fairly approximate motorists’ use of the roads
The complaint stated:
“This toll regime was designed to, and does in fact, impose discriminatory and disproportionate burdens on out-of-state operators and on truckers who are operating in interstate commerce. By design, the tolls fall exclusively on the types of trucks that are most likely to be engaged in the interstate transport of cargo, while exempting automobiles and the smaller vehicles that are relatively more likely to be engaged in intrastate travel. The toll program also limits the tolls collected from trucks that make multiple trips within Rhode Island in a single day, a feature that was expressly intended to, and does in fact, provide disproportionate benefits to Rhode Island operators and those engaged in intrastate commerce.” This argument won the day.
The reactions from the trucking industry leaders were swift: “We told Rhode Island’s leaders from the start that their crazy scheme was not only discriminatory, but illegal,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “We’re pleased the court agreed. To any state looking to target our industry, you better bring your A-game… because we’re not rolling over.”
Also, the Rhode Island Trucking Association President Chris Maxwell stated, “It has been a long road to get to this point. But this is a tremendous day for our industry – not just here in Rhode Island, but across the country. Had we not prevailed, these tolls would have spread across the country and this ruling sends a strong signal to other states that trucking is not to be targeted as a piggy bank.”
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