Judge Strikes Down Rhode Island’s Truck Toll

A federal judge ruled that Rhode Island’s truck-only toll unconstitutional, saying the fee was “enacted with a discriminatory purpose.” 

U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith issued his ruling Sept. 21, stating the charge was unlawful under the Dormant Commerce Clause of the Constitution. He ordered the state to stop collecting tolls within 48 hours.  

The program, the first of its kind, only applied tolls to trucks pulling a trailer as defined in 23 C.F.R 658.5. They were collected across five major highway corridors at 13 locations, according to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation

In his ruling, Smith wrote that the toll was not fairly apportioned among bridge users “based on a fair approximation of their use of the bridges.” He concluded that the toll was discriminatory in purpose effect. 

The original suit filed against the toll in 2018 was brought by the American Trucking Associations and two companies: M&M Transport Services and Cumberland Farms.