Tollbooths on I-95? Good Luck
I grew up in northern Maine (Bangor-area), where the Maine Turnpike Authority kicks in around Augusta and you pay on down the road until you hit New Hampshire. One of the things I like about Rhode Island is not paying tolls on the regular highway. But we may be headed that way, according to the ProJo. Now, some of the ideas are better than others, but one has “unintended consequences” written all over it:
[URI Prof. Henry] Schwarzbach said that most travel on Route 95 is within the state, and that traffic volume more than triples between North Kingstown and Warwick.
Putting a toll booth north of the Route 295 interchange, he said, could raise $75 million per year with a cheaper toll, $1.75, even allowing for some discount passes. It could also have this beneficial side effect: Drivers wanting to avoid the toll would take Route 295 around Providence, reducing traffic jams there.
You know what else they’ll avoid? That toll booth altogether. More than a few commuters will duck around them, especially anyone who lives in Warwick. That, in turn, will lead to more congestion on the east-west routes within Warwick and Cranston. You see, one toll booth, no matter how strategically placed you may think it is, won’t “capture” the revenue you think it will. Drivers will go to great lengths to avoid ’em. The only way to implement a toll system is to take a broad approach, which means you’d need booths on Route 6 or Route 10 and I-195, too. I don’t think Rhode Islanders will go for that!