RITBA and Alviti Jr. file for dismissal of federal truck tolls suit

THE R.I. TURNPIKE and Bridge Authority and R.I. Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti Jr. filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit over truck tolls in U.S. District Court Friday. / BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO/SAM HODGSON
THE R.I. TURNPIKE and Bridge Authority and R.I. Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti Jr. filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit over truck tolls in U.S. District Court Friday. / BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO/SAM HODGSON

PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority and R.I. Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti Jr. filed a motion in U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island Friday, seeking a dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the American Trucking Associations Inc., Cumberland Farms Inc., M&M Transport Services Inc. and New England Motor Freight Inc., claiming that the federal court did not have jurisdiction over the truck toll matter in a variety of arguments.

The filing citied the Tax Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1341, which it said establishes a broad jurisdictional bar prohibiting federal courts from enjoining or restraining the collection of state taxes such as tolls.

The argument pushed a number of arguments, including the writings of Alexander Hamilton on federalism, as well as legal precedents, to prove that that the tolls are in fact a tax, and therefore fall under the purview of the state courts. It also argued that the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – which limits the power of federal courts to hear lawsuits against state governments brought by the citizens of other states or foreign countries (according to the online Free Dictionary by Farlex) – prohibits the suit, and that the matter should be dismissed and transferred to state courts for a faster, more efficient remedy.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. He can be reached at Bergenheim@PBN.com.

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