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RI DOT: Truck tolls still 2 years away

Less than 24 hours after the legislature passed last week and Gov. Gina Raimondo signed it into law, the Department of Transportation put out requests for consultants to move the plan forward. (WJAR)

Rhode Island is moving fast toward putting truck tolls all over the state.

Less than 24 hours after the legislature passed last week and Gov. Gina Raimondo signed it into law, the Department of Transportation put out requests for consultants to move the plan forward.

"The two contracts that have to do with the setting and the design of the gantries just out with a timeline to be ready to construct in 18 months to two years," DOT Director Peter Alviti told NBC 10 News.

A lot of engineering has to take place, as well as bids for the construction work. Then, the tolls will go up and the money will start rolling in.

Only trucks will pay tolls - somewhere around $3.50 a toll, with a maximum of $20 to roll through the whole state.

Construction will not wait for the toll money.

"Between now and September, we expect to put out about $130 million worth of road and bridge contracts - construction contracts," Alviti said. "Some of those funds are dependent on the truck toll legislation passing, insuring a future flow of revenue to pay for the refinancing that will free up construction money."

Alviti said getting the DOT straightened out so that construction will be properly supervised is as vital as getting the money.

"The reorganization is essential, just as important as designing a bridge to carry the weight of a truck, is to provide the oversight to get it properly built," said Alviti.

The combination of a better system to oversee construction and steady funding to pay for new projects should leave Rhode Island with smooth roads and sturdy bridges.

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