New England Car Shipping Prices Could Increase Due To Tolls
Since last year, Rhode Island has implemented a truck-only tax. It applies to most interstate highways in Rhode Island, with I-95 being the exception. I-95 is a major road through the region that transports thousands of trucks each day. It has already caused an increase in New England's car shipping costs, particularly to Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
The American Trucking Association (ATA), therefore, has challenged the law before a federal court. They lost. The organization appeals the decision.
How it was decided
The ATA challenged this law, claiming that it discriminated against interstate trucking businesses. This would render the law unconstitutional. The judge ruled however that the tolls were protected by the tax injunction act. These TIA States federal courts are not authorized to hear state taxes.
It's an interesting argument. Both sides have valid arguments, according to this writer. One, discrimination against certain types of businesses - even at the state level – is not okay. Long-distance truckers really are the backbone of America. They are essential to the movement of goods, which would cause economic collapse.
However, the judge also correctly states that tolls are subject to taxes. Rhode Island can implement tolls on certain vehicles based on most laws and court rulings.
The ATA plans to appeal the ruling. CEO Chris Spear, president of the ATA, stated that "this fight is not over."
What does the ruling mean for New England's car shipping prices
We have yet to see any significant ramifications from this ruling or the tolls they were imposing. New England car shipping companies don't require that carriers travel I-95. Those who do need to travel I-95 tend to go through Rhode Island, and then up into Boston. There have been slight price increases in comparison to last year, but current projections indicate that summer shipping will be more costly this year.
It is not known how much of this price increase is due to one particular ruling. It's unlikely, however, that price increases are caused by it. It's possible that some routes from New England to Boston or the north may be affected. It's $40 per day, $20 per one-way. All the booths in the state will be operational at that time, and truckers will need to pay $3.25 for each.
The tolls aren't too high. There are 14 gantries along I-95 in Rhode Island. This means trucks will have to stop more often. Most toll booths take only a few seconds to pass, even if they are automated. Florida, the largest car transportation market in the country, has tolls on many of its interstates. SpeedPass is a Florida system that makes it easier and faster to use. Trucks don't have to stop, as they are electronically billed.
Although we don't know the exact system in Rhode Island, it is likely that there will be no more than a quarter-hour delay. We know that tolls can have an effect on auto transport prices.
Potential ramifications for the tolls
Many truckers who travel through Rhode Island right now are dissatisfied with the tolls. It's not surprising that this is the case, and it doesn't affect just-auto shipping companies. Remember that the tolls will affect all long-haul trucks traveling through the state.
There could be a variety of consequences. For example, trucking companies may charge more for loads that originate or end in Rhode Island. To combat rising tolls, trucks that regularly pass through Rhode Island could increase their prices.
We don't yet know the long-term consequences of the program, which was first implemented in 2018. However, there could be slight price increases for consumer goods and increased pressure on businesses that rely on interstate trucking for their wares.
We hope this decision will not be final because we have a stake in the success of long-haul trucking companies. As we have said, long-haul truckers are the backbone of the country. Given how dependent we all are on them every day, it is important that we make their lives and work easier.
We will see where this leads. It's not over, according to Chris Spear, ATA CEO and President. As we move into the busy season, we'll keep you informed on how this could affect New England's car shipping prices as well as services.
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