The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) announced today that it is scheduled to implement an all-electronic tolling system for tractor-trailer-only tolling at two locations along I-95 in southern Rhode Island starting on June 11, 2018. The remaining tolling locations will come on line over the next 18 months.

Revenue will be collected from tractor-trailers only. “Studies show those vehicles cause the greatest amount of damage to roadways,” a press release from RIDOT stated on Tuesday.” Other vehicles, including passenger cars, will not be tolled. The legislation authorizing the tolling program expressly prohibits tolling cars”.

The tolls will be collected at two locations between Hopkinton and Exeter, and revenue generated will provide a reliable, dedicated source of revenue to fund the reconstruction of the bridges at those two sites. Toll Location 1 is approximately 1 mile north of Exit 2 (Hopkinton/Hope Valley) for the Wood River Valley Bridge on the Richmond/Hopkinton line. Toll Location 2 is approximately 3 miles south of Exit 5 (Route 102) for the Tefft Hill Trail Bridge and Baker Pines Bridge near the Exeter/Richmond line.

The toll for Location 1 will be $3.25. The toll for Location 2 will be $3.50. For tractor-trailers equipped with transponders such as E-ZPass, tolls will be limited to once per day, per direction. For tractor-trailers without a transponder, video detection systems will be used to generate an invoice for the registered owner of the vehicle. The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority will collect the tolls and generate the invoices where necessary.

According to the RIDOT release, the installation of the first two gantries followed approval of an Environmental Assessment by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) conducted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). FHWA in late December notified RIDOT that the implementation of the tolling gantries would not have a significant impact on the human environment and signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Environmental Assessment.

Each toll location functions independently and is associated with the reconstruction or replacement of specific bridges in accordance with the Rhode Island Bridge Replacement, Reconstruction, and Maintenance Fund state law known as RhodeWorks and consistent with requirements set forth in 23 U.S.C. 129.

The toll systems at Toll Locations 1 and 2 will be used to collect toll revenues from tractor or truck tractors, pulling a trailer or trailers as defined in 23 U.S.C. 658.5, and as defined in the Rhode Island Bridge Replacement, Reconstruction and Maintenance Fund Act, also known as the RhodeWorks legislation.

RIDOT directed its tolling contractor, Kapsch, to extensively test the tolling system this spring before it goes live, deciding that revenue collection can now begin with the contractor certifying that all systems are working properly.