Bridge repair funding needed now, just get mix right

Once heavy lifting of the fiscal 2016 budget was behind it, the General Assembly faced some important end-of-session work. Unfortunately, one proposal that stood out for action – but was denied – is what Gov. Gina M. Raimondo has named RhodeWorks. Its core is a toll on large trucks to help fund an extra $1…

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  1. The best way to raise tax revenue is to tax a very large group a small amount of money. There are about a million registered vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles, RV’s etc.) in Rhode Island. In addition, the United States Congress will soon pass legislation to provide matching federal funds to repair local bridges. A 15 dollar surcharge on each vehicle liability insurance policy sold in Rhode Island would raise 15 million dollars each year and, with federal matching funds, would provide 150 million dollars each year to repair Rhode Island’s local bridges. Because no bonding fees or interest fees would be needed. Rhode Island would save 16 million dollars each year for 30 years. These savings would allow Rhode Island to lower its fuel tax by 5 cents per gallon. In addition, Rhode Island should allow two truck stops to be built on each side of I-295 at the present rests areas in Lincoln. More gallons of fuel would be sold each day in Rhode Island and yearly fuel tax revenue would increase. The number of trucks using I-95 in downtown Providence would be reduced which would extend the life of the bridge infrastructure in downtown Providence.