The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today asked the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to "formally rescind the Sakonnet River Bridge 2013 Revised ROD (Record of Decision)." The request was made in a letter sent to the FHWA Division Administrator.
The 2013 ROD, in effect, granted federal authority to the state to impose tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge. By requesting the rescission, RIDOT removes any doubt that tolls will be imposed on the Sakonnet River Bridge. FHWA could not enact the rescission on its own because RIDOT is the project sponsor and joint lead agency for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process at this site.
The possibility of tolls being imposed on the bridge was already rendered moot by a state law that prohibits RIDOT from tolling cars. The letter was sent to remove any doubt. RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said, "We have no intention of tolling cars. This letter removes any ideas to the contrary."
Under the RhodeWorks legislation, RIDOT is permitted to toll large commercial trucks as they cross bridges that RIDOT intends to rebuild or replace on federal roads. Two gantries to toll large commercial trucks have already been built on I-95 in southern Rhode Island and the implementation of the next ten gantries has started.
A copy of RIDOT's letter is below.