Why Is RIDOT Inducing the Truck Toll Legal Challenge?


You may recall that the toll gantry on the Sakonnet River Bridge was removed a couple of months ago, oddly, on Super Bowl Sunday night. NBC 10’s Bill Rappleye has learned, exclusively, it appears, that

The State of Rhode Island intends to install a truck toll by this time next year, using the old Sakonnett River Bridge tolls, DOT director Peter Alviti told NBC 10 News.

“I think the basic logic of it is we can get a couple of them up right away because we’ve already got the gantries,” Alviti said. “If that causes a legal challenge, then so be it.”

Throwing the floor open here to speculation, rumor, gossip, innuendo and, if necessary, hard facts. The smart, if reprehensible, thing for the Raimondo administration and RIDOT to do would be to lock the state into tolls by proceeding full blast to rack up all kinds of expenses – the big ones being the purchase and installation of gantries and the issuance of bonds – that could only be repaid via toll revenue. Why would they veer away from this apparently surefire course?


In his conversation last night with WPRO’s Matt Allen, NBC 10′ Bill Rappleye said he is hearing that the gantry will go on Route 95, either in Exeter or near Exit 4 (on a “bridge”, presumably). So if tolls are green-lighted, they will benefit Providence and the 6/10 Greenway “Big Dig” yet will come, initially, from toll revenue collected far down the highway.

  • Mario

    Whatever the motive, at least it’s the responsible course. If the state can’t win in court, better we find out now.

    At the same time, I think you hit on the motive just right: “the issuance of bonds – that could only be repaid via toll revenue.” If you are pledging a revenue stream towards the payment of a bond, the bond buyers would like to first know if you have the right to collect the revenue. Even if no one has asked for the assurance specifically, the threat of a credible lawsuit lowers the value of the bond. If I had to guess, the guarantor or the issuing company expressed reservations, and the unused gantries provided a cheap, easy test case.

  • kevin

    they have nothing else to do, Apparently .