Poll: Rhode Island residents want truckers to pay for bridge maintenance

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Rhode Island residents want more money to go towards road and bridge maintenance, but they do not want to pay for it themselves. A new poll reveals that Rhode Island voters will reject a gas tax increase, but are supportive of a toll on large trucks to pay for infrastructure maintenance.

The Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership released a poll that asks Rhode Islanders about some of the major issues in the Ocean State. When asked about Gov. Gina Raimondo’s proposal of a toll on large trucks crossing bridges to pay for bridge repair, more than half of respondents were supportive of the idea. When presented an alternative source of funding in the form of an increased gas tax, nearly 70 percent were opposed.

Regardless of how repairs and maintenance are paid, Rhode Island residents agree that not enough money is being spent on the issue. More than three-quarters of those surveyed believed that the state and local governments are spending too little on road and bridge maintenance.
 
More than 15 percent felt that taxes are the most important problem in the state, only second behind job opportunities with more than 30 percent. A little more than 40 percent believe that Rhode Island is headed in the wrong direction.

Earlier this year, Gov. Raimondo proposed that the state toll only truckers to pay off the $1.1 billion dollars in bonds to fix the roads and bridges. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and Rhode Island Trucking Association sent a letter to the Federal Highway Administration strongly opposing the proposal. The two associations questioned whether or not the measure violated federal tolling laws.

Related stories:
Rhode Island Republicans offer alternatives to truck tolling
OOIDA questions Rhode Island's authority to toll trucks on interstates
Truckers blast 'anti-business' toll plan in Rhode Island

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