RI Turnpike Authority: You Can't Bill Somebody for a Ten-Cent Toll

Jul 3, 2013

The head of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority said it’s going to take some time to figure out how to collect tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge from drivers who don’t have an E-ZPass.

A toll gate will collect tolls electronically, with an extra fee tacked on for drivers who lack an E-ZPass and need a bill sent in the mail. But since the toll is now only a dime, Turnpike and Bridge Authority chairman David Darlington said they’ll have to find a cost-effective way to send those bills.

Because tolls are collected electronically, the plan was to charge an extra $1.50 for drivers without an E-ZPass who would then be billed in the mail.

“You can’t mail a bill to somebody for a ten-cent charge. Because I don’t care whether it’s the envelope or the letter or the person stuffing it or the stamp,” said Darlington, “all of those things are going to overwhelm what you’re going to get in return.”

Darlington said they’re looking at sending a monthly bill or after a certain number of trips across the Sakonnet Bridge.

He said the electronic toll gate was ready to collect tolls this month, and all the Turnpike Authority will have to do is change the software that calculates how much to charge. The new toll kicks in on August 19th.

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