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TCA, ATFI Advocate for Better Solutions
Bad public policy never takes a summer vacation. While the early 2016 state legislative sessions have now passed, The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates (ATFI) continues to monitor several states which are considering tolling interstates.
The Truckload Carriers Association is a proud member of ATFI and privileged to be a part of a national coalition of individuals, businesses and organizations advocating for workable transportation solutions that don’t toll existing interstates.
With the help of our colleagues at ATFI, and with the help of our members, TCA continues to be active in grassroots and advocacy across the U.S.
As you know, after the five-year federal transportation bill passed Congress in the fall of 2015, several governors and state legislatures began to discuss how to implement tolling for their 2016 and 2017 sessions. So far in 2016, the most egregious effort to implement tolling has come from Rhode Island. Signed by Governor Gina Raimondo earlier this year, RhodeWorks is a new transportation plan that will create at least 14 new tolls across the state. Governor Raimondo’s plan is an unprecedented use of a federal exemption that is meant to repair ailing bridges. The Governor is using that lone exemption to create an entire network of statewide tolls. This has never been done before!
Of course, ATFI and TCA have been active in opposing RhodeWorks. ATFI members have been vigorous in responding to RhodeWorks in the media, including op-eds and letters in the state’s largest paper, The Providence Journal (3/2) (3/11) and (6/23).
In March, inspired by the issues in Rhode Island, ATFI released “Studying and Forecasting Tolls is Inefficient, Unproductive and Expensive,” a new report analyzing academic research to determine the efficacy of governments financing their own tolling studies. The report was cited by WPRI in Rhode Island in the debate over studying RhodeWorks.
Rhode Island is indicative of what we can expect from other states going forward when it comes to making transportation policy. Despite the fact that the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council found that RhodeWorks will cost far more than expected and that Rhode Island-based Greylawn Foods suspended plans on a $300,000 refrigeration system and estimated $280,000 out-of-pocket losses if the tolls passed—RhodeWorks was still signed into law. When our elected leaders ignore the consequences of bad public policy, it becomes even more imperative that your voice be heard.
For more information, visit the ATFI website.