House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is putting the brakes on Governor Raimondo’s plan to impose new tolls on trucks.
Speaker Mattiello was at Governor Raimondo’s side last week when she unveiled a plan to make larger commercial trucks pay tolls. Raimondo, who took steps to soften the plan this week, called it a sensible way to pay for road and bridge construction. She said big rigs cause most of the damage.
But Speaker Mattiello’s office said Thursday there are too many questions to move ahead with the tolling plan. Spokesman Larry Berman said Mattiello wants to look at the impact on local businesses and other issues. So as it stands, the tolls will not make it into the upcoming state budget.
Asked if tolls could still be in the budget expected to face an initial committee vote as soon as next week, Berman said via email, "Yes, they can. At this time, [Speaker Mattiello] is seeking more information, especially on the impact to Rhode Island businesses. If he receives more details, it is possible that the toll plan will still be included in the budget."
Local truckers have sharply opposed the tolling plan. They said it’s unfair to target a single industry for tolls.
Asked for comment on the latest development, Raimondo spokeswoman Marie Aberger said via email, "Rhode Island ranks 50th out of 50 states in overall bridge condition and has lost 1,200 [jobs] in the construction sector over the past three months. Our priority remains putting people back to work repairing our roads and bridges and improving the economy."
This post has been updated.