Just for fun, I took the proposed toll amounts that Ted Nesi tweeted out earlier and put them on a Google Map. If I did this right, you should be able to click the toll locations and see the amount highlighted.
The RI Dept. of Transportation and toll supporters (most of whom represent interests that will benefit directly from the money or are otherwise entangled with state government spending) want it all ways on this matter. On the one hand, they argue that the state must have this new revenue or there is no way to repair roads and bridges. On the other hand, they point out (as at the House Finance hearing) that even if the tolls produced no revenue, it would “only” reduce the amount of money available for repairs (as in, no big deal). This applies on the individual level, implying that nobody will have to shoulder too much burden, but then emphasizing all the money they’ll collect for infrastructure.
Review the map and think like a trucker on routes with which you’re familiar. For example, traveling from my house to Woonsocket would cost a trucker $40 round trip. Taking an alternate route of routes 24, 495, and 126 — which I’ve done anyway, particularly during certain times of day — would cost $0. Zoom out on the map, and one can see just how easy it would be to avoid Rhode Island, or to only enter it where necessary.
In contrast, depending where trucks start out within Rhode Island, a round trip, say up 295 and down 95 would amount to less than an hour of driving yet cost around $30 in tolls. And that’s before RIDOT decides to start ratcheting up the tolls for more and more money.