By IAN DONNIS
PROVIDENCE, RI – The Chafee administration is using an unusual approach to overcome federal opposition to adding tolls on Interstate 95.
The US Department of Transportation opposes adding tolls to pay for highway repairs. But Rhode Island hopes to qualify for a federal pilot program permitting up to three states to implement tolls to improve existing interstates.
According to Stateline, an online publication about state governments, Virginia and Missouri have federal permission to add tolls under the pilot program, although neither state has yet to do so. Pennsylvania was rejected when it sought the same permission, and Rhode Island hopes to land that slot.
State DOT director Michael Lewis says tolls are needed for improvements to I-95. He says work must begin to replace one stretch of the highway in Providence in about four or five years.
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