Governor Gina Raimondo said Thursday that a newly released impact study on her truck toll plan shows that the proposal will help Rhode Island’s economy.
The study by Regional Economic Models predicts the toll plan could boost the state’s gross domestic product by $538 million. The study also predicts the governor’s toll proposal will create a net increase of more than 6,000 jobs.
In a statement, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says he’s digesting the impact study.
Mattiello also made clear that legislative action on the governor's truck toll plan is unlikely to take place until after the General Assembly starts its new session in January. "We have not established a timeline at this point," Mattiello said in a statement. "But since we need time to analyze the report and to develop a final plan, I have no expectation that we will be coming back prior to January.”
Critics have raised concerns that imposing tolls on truck could harm small businesses and hurt the state’s economy. Some GOP lawmakers have called for using existing funds to fix bridges. Raimondo said the problem is so big that additional revenue is needed to address it.
Bill Fischer, a spokesman for the Rhode Island Trucking Association, said the RITA was reviewing the impact study.
"Our concerns remain the same, that the trucking industry alone is not responsible for the condition of our roads and bridges and that the trucking industry alone should not be asked to shoulder the cost of repair," Fischer said in a statement. "That said, we appreciate that the governor took the time to commission this study as any due diligence at this juncture is appreciated."
This post has been updated.