The American Trucking Associations will continue its fight against the state of Rhode Island's truck-only tolls, the Arlington, Va.-based trade group said March 29.
ATA said it will appeal a March 19 decision to dismiss its case alleging that the State's RhodeWorks program discriminates against interstate trucking companies and impedes the flow of interstate commerce by levying a special toll on freight trucks.
A federal judge threw out the case, saying that it needs to be tried at the state level.
ATA filed its lawsuit jointly with Cumberland Farms Inc., M&M Transport Service Inc. and New England Motor Freight last year. The RhodeWorks program was enacted in 2016 and took effect last June. The program is aimed at generating revenue for road and bridge improvements throughout the state by charging tolls for freight trucks travelling on interstate 95, which runs from the state's border with Connecticut through to the Massachusetts state line.
ATA claims that the federal court failed to listen to the merits of the case and that it is reviewing its next steps in the appeals process.
"Since RhodeWorks was first proposed, the trucking industry has been strong and united in opposition to this extortionate plan. We've warned politicians in Rhode Island that these truck-only tolls were unconstitutional and should be rolled back," said ATA president and CEO Chris Spear. "... While we are disappointed the district court's decision means further delay in seeing these tolls rolled back, our appeal of the dismissal of our case on a technicality should demonstrate to the state that this fight is by no means over, and we look forward to establishing the unconstitutionality of Rhode Island's discriminatory tolls on the merits."
The federal court's recent decision follows a motion to dismiss the case filed by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) last summer. In its motion, RIDOT cited, in part, the Tax Injunction Act, which restricts the power of the federal district courts to prevent the collection or enforcement of state taxes.