FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 8, 2016
Monique Chartier Tel: 401-261-0508
Job Lot Shock Announcement Underscores Imminent Peril of Tolls
StopTollsRI.com Calls on State Leaders to Immediately Withdraw Toll Legislation
Providence, RI-- On Saturday, at the grand opening of their new store in North Kingstown, Ocean State Job Lot made the shock announcement that they are suspending the construction of a new $50 million warehouse due to Governor Gina Raimondo's proposal to toll trucks.
The Governor's administration has said that truck tolls would simply put the state on the same field as other states which toll. But no other state comes close to cramming so many gantries into such a small area, nor does any other state toll trucks only, a legally questionable approach that would almost certainly lead to tolls on cars. And Job Lot, a Rhode Island-based company, said that under the pending toll legislation, they would pay $1 million a year in tolls, a figure that is more than six times what they currently pay in tolls to RI, MA, CT, NH, VT, ME, NY and NJ combined. (View their testimony here, courtesy of the Gaspee Project.)
Job Lot is only the latest in a series of Rhode Island businesses who have said they will be significantly impacted by tolls. On Saturday, the CEO of Cranston-based Taco John Hazen White, Jr, expressed real concerns about tolls and indicated that the company is in the process of calculating their impact. UPS, Greylawn Foods and at least two trucking companies, TW Byrne Transport and M&D Transportation have gone further than Taco, publicly stating that they would move operations and jobs out of state if tolls are implemented.
"The testimony of M&D Transportation's Mike Collins at the Senate hearing was riveting and indisputable", says StopTollsRI.com spokesperson Monique Chartier. "He offered to show the numbers. His company simply cannot survive in Rhode Island if tolls are implemented."
"But these are only the companies who have chosen to speak out", continues Chartier. "How many more companies are quietly watching events on the sidelines, poised to reduce their work force or move over the border if truck tolls come to the state?"
Last week, RIPEC, the R.I. Public Expenditure Council, released revenue projections of the toll plan based upon RIDOT's own numbers. They showed that, while tolls do not adequately fund bridge repairs in the short term, they produce an unprogrammed surplus of over $700 million over the long haul.
"So tolls don't get the job done short term", points out Chartier. "But long term, they become a permanent tap into the veins of Rhode Island residents and businesses, exactly as everyone has feared."
The RIPEC study also concluded that the industries hardest hit would be manufacturing, transportation and warehousing/logistics - the very industries the Governor’s recent Brookings study held out as "valuable opportunities for development and growth in RI".
"With Job Lot halting the construction of a $50 million new warehouse and UPS transferring a dozen jobs from RI to MA, tolls are chasing jobs away before the bill is even voted on in committee", emphasizes Chartier. "The shocking announcement Saturday by Job Lot should jolt everyone awake to the very real danger posed to Rhode Island by tolls. We call on state leaders to immediately withdraw this toll legislation before the damage to the state's economy and job base becomes irreversible."
StopTollsRI.com is a coalition of citizen groups opposing not just the Governor’s Truck-Toll plan, but ANY toll proposal. The public is encouraged to take action to oppose tolls at www.StopTollsRI.com.
Concerned Island Taxpayers
The Gaspee Project
Little Compton Taxpayers
North Kingstown Taxpayers
Ocean State Taxpayers in Action (OSTPA)
Portsmouth Concerned Citizens
Sakonnet Toll Opposition Platform (STOP)
RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Rhode Island Farm Bureau
The Coalition Talk Radio
Rhode Island Independent Contractors & Associates
RI Federation of Republican Women
Portsmouth Business Association