The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced it has initiated a request for proposals (RFP) process to solicit proposals from firms to design, build, operate and maintain all electronic tolling facilities for Rhode Island's truck-only tolling program in accordance with the RhodeWorks legislation.
This competitive process seeks a firm to design and build the tolling facilities and associated infrastructure to fund the reconstruction of deficient bridges throughout Rhode Island. The selected firm also will be required to operate and maintain the toll facilities to ensure they function properly.
The tolling locations throughout Rhode Island will feature all-electronic tolling, and only large commercial trucks will be charged a toll. There will be no toll booths and no stopping to pay tolls. No passenger vehicles will be tolled.
"Rhode Island has the worst bridges in America. While tolling revenues will provide approximately 10% of RIDOT's overall funding, it is a vital component that allows us to fast track bringing the state's bridges into a state of good repair within ten years," said RIDOT director Peter Alviti, Jr.
In October 2016, RIDOT executed 13 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), one for each tolling location on both state bridges and interstate bridges. In the MOUs, the FHWA "hereby agrees that the Toll Project meets the toll eligibility requirements of 23 U.S.C. 129 (a) (1)", the applicable federal law. A 14th MOU for the Providence Viaduct will be executed once the existing environmental mitigation requirements for the project are satisfied.
The truck-only tolling was signed into law by Governor Raimondo on February 11, 2016 with the passage of the Rhode Island Bridge Replacement, Reconstruction and Maintenance Fund Act, better known as "RhodeWorks". Through RhodeWorks, RIDOT is authorized to toll large commercial trucks in order to fund, in part, the replacement or reconstruction of bridges throughout the state.
With this program, Rhode Island joins eight other states from Maryland to Maine that toll for the purpose of funding infrastructure. Rhode Island will also become the second state in the union that has tolling locations only on large commercial vehicles. The New York Thruway Authority operates a large commercial vehicle only tolling location at its Spring Valley toll plaza. A GAO report to Congress indicated that one fully loaded tractor trailer can do the equivalent damage of 9,600 cars.
RIDOT expects to award a contract in Spring 2017. Construction of the tolling facilities will take approximately a year and half to build, reaching completion by the end of 2018.