While state reports “billed revenue” for truck tolls, it doesn’t share what it has collected

The story on a Providence television station’s web site touted how revenues from truck tolls had surpassed expectations in its first year. Not so fast. What was reported by the state Department of Transportation was “billed revenue.” What has been collected, well they’re not sharing that number.

Here’s what the WJAR website said: “Truck tolls in Rhode Island generated $7.26 million in revenue during the program’s first year, according to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. That figure is slightly higher than the department’s initial $7 million estimate.”

It’s not revenue, but “billed revenue,” as the Department of Transportation spokesman described it.

“We have not reported out actual collections,” said Charles St. Martin III, Chief of Public Affairs, Office of Communication and Customer Service, Rhode Island Department of Transportation. “These totals are amounts billed based on the number of trucks passing under the toll locations and represent total billable revenue. A high percentage are collected immediately through transponder. The rest are collected as part of a billing process.”

We asked him several times for the actual collections, but never received an answer. 

St. Martin did talk of plans, with the next gantry going live in August and others to come online monthly, with projected revenues for 2019-2020 fiscal year of $25 million, rising to $45 million when all 12 gantries are in operation.

“Two gantries are up now, the third is set to go live on August 13.” St. Martin said. “The reminder will go online roughly one per month through next spring. This year (state fiscal year 2019/2020), the revenue estimate is $25 million. We expect $45 million annually when all 12 locations are up and running.”