PAWTUCKET, R.I. (July 10, 2017) – The Rhode Island Trucking Association (RITA) today announced that its national affiliate, the American Trucking Associations (ATA), along with three major motor carriers representing the trucking industry, have officially filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. The lawsuit details with great clarity how Rhode Island’s RhodeWorks truck‐only tolling scheme violates multiple provisions of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
“We’ve maintained since day one, that the truck‐only tolling component of RhodeWorks is unlawful, and this comprehensive lawsuit offers clear, unequivocal proof” states Christopher Maxwell, President/CEO of the RI Trucking Association. “The Raimondo administration, Speaker Mattiello, and RIDOT Director Alviti force‐fed RhodeWorks into legislation with misleading and inaccurate propaganda. Furthermore, they implemented this tolling scheme with tremendous arrogance and reckless disregard for the RI taxpayers and business community who will ultimately get stuck paying the bill for this ill‐conceived tolling scheme”.
The ATA is represented by Mayer Brown, one of the largest and most successful law firms on such matters in the United States. In its suit, ATA is joined by Cumberland Farms Inc., M&M Transport Services Inc. and New England Motor Freight, who collectively argue that the RhodeWorks plan violates the Constitution’s Commerce Clause by discriminating against out‐of‐state trucking companies and by designing the tolls in a way that does not fairly approximate motorists’ use of the roads; a constitutional requirement.
“Since the RhodeWorks plan was first proposed, the trucking industry has been strong and united in warning politicians in Rhode Island it is unconstitutional and should be rolled back,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “It is unfortunate that Gov. Raimondo and her administration did not heed those warnings, but now we will see them in court.”
The Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution forbids states from imposing barriers to interstate commerce that direct an unfavorable burden to out-of-state parties. The Commerce Clause also requires that highway user fees fairly approximate the use of the tolled facilities; RhodeWorks imposes 100% of the fees on users who constitute roughly 2% of the traffic.
About the American Trucking Associations
The American Trucking Association is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry‐related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight.
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The Rhode Island Trucking Association, Inc. (RITA) is a chartered, nonprofit organization whose membership is made up of truck owners, fleet owners, private and for hire motor carriers, and allied industries. Since 1931, RITA has represented and promoted all motor carrier interests on the state level. RITA, the only statewide trucking association, has been a member of the American Trucking Associations since 1944.
For more information, please visit https://ritrucking.org.