Rhode Island loses 2nd appeal to toll only trucks, RI passenger vehicles could be months away from being tolled along with truckers

As reported by Land Line Magazine on March 4th, a federal appeals court denied the Rhode Island Department of Transportation’s petition to rehear its truck-only lawsuit with the ATA, Cumberland Farms, M&M Transport Services, and New England Motor Freight. Mike Collins and Chris Maxwell of the Rhode Island Trucking Association confirms that if the Supreme Court of the United States denies an appeal, the case will need to go to the United States District Court in Rhode Island. If both fail, Rhode Island will be forced to toll both trucks and Passenger vehicles.

The US Supreme Court is petitioned to hear roughly 4,000 to 5,000 cases a year, but only agrees to 75 to 200. As a standard, cases taken by the US Supreme Court are those that are in contention, in other words there is disagreement between courts as to how to interpret the law.

The case involving Rhode Island truck only tolls does not even come close to hitting this mark. Two appeals by the RIDOT made to substantiate the need to discriminate against truckers only for tolling has been denied unanimously. Seeing there is little to no disagreement among the lower courts, the likelihood of the US Supreme Court taking the case is next to zero, considering only about 2% – 5% of the cases petitioned are taken up by the highest court of the land.

The last hope beyond the U.S. Supreme Court is an appeal to the Federal Appeals Court of Rhode Island. If the RIDOT loses this appeal, the state will be forced to toll all vehicles on Rhode Island’s bridges and highways.

Subsequent reporting: Court Strikes Down RIDOT’s Petition for Rehearing in Truck Tolls Case