RI rep wants Constitutional amendment banning car tolls

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As Rhode Island lawmakers consider charging tolls for long-haul cargo trucks that go over bridges, one South County state representative does not want one toll to lead to another.

Rep. Blake Filippi, Dist. 36 (Block Island, Charlestown, South Kingstown and Westerly) will introduce a resolution calling for a Constitutional amendment to prevent any new highway tolls on passenger automobiles.

RhodeWorks, a plan put forth by Gov. Gina Raimondo, would employ a $600 million bond backed by revenue from tolls on trucks.  The governor has asserted the toll will be increased if it does not generate enough revenue.

But Rep. Filippi said Tuesday that once toll gantries are built, with cameras mounted over roadways tracking license plates for toll billing, it will become all too easy to add passenger cars and other vehicles to the toll ranks.

“The potential toll revenue from passenger cars may be too enticing for future leaders — especially if the rosy RhodeWorks commercial vehicle toll projections fall short,” Filippi said in a statement.

“This proposed Constitutional amendment will protect our right to travel and ensure that Governor Raimondo’s promise is kept by future administrations. Once [the amendment is] passed, new passenger vehicle tolls can only be assessed if the People first vote for its repeal.”

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