STATEMENT: Senate 11 Election, State House Rally Prove Supporting Tolls is Political Suicide

January 6, 2016

Public Speaks Loud & Clear That Supporting Tolls is a Dangerous Road for Elected Officials

Providence, RI — At the same time yesterday that angered citizens were chanting “Stop Tolls Now” at a boisterous State House rally, citizens across the bay were similarly voting to ‘stop tolls now’ by apparently electing the anti-toll candidate in the Senate 11 special election, in what is widely considered a major political upset and a referendum against tolls.

This double-barreled message from Rhode Islanders should raise major alarms among legislators who will soon be asked to vote their support for the unpopular tolls.

With the political viability of tolls now in serious jeopardy, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity renews it calls for lawmakers to take a more fiscally prudent path in repairing and upgrading the state’s crumbling infrastructure. The Center has previously proposed a P3 financing and delivery model that would reduce project expenses, improve delivery times, and – most importantly – ensure cost-certainty so that taxpayers and/or drivers will not be on the hook for the inevitable cost over-runs that normally come with major public works projects.

“The public spoke loudly and clearly yesterday that supporting tolls is political suicide. Our Center also maintains that tolls to fund construction overseen by the RI DOT is highly irresponsible from a fiscal standpoint. There is a better path,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “With a Pay-Go approach that prioritizes existing revenues in our state budget, combined with a P3 delivery model that bypasses the dysfunctional RI DOT for this project, Rhode Island families can enjoy an upgraded and safer bridge and road infrastructure without fear of being further taxed or tolled in the future. ”

Notwithstanding the political consequences, by reducing the near- and long-term revenues required to complete the project via a P3, their would no longer be a need to consider the extraction new revenues from the private sector via a costly and unpopular tolling infrastructure.

The Center encourages all concerned citizens to sign a petition opposing tolls at

Media Contact:
Mike Stenhouse, CEO
401.429.6115 |

About the Center
The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is Rhode Island’s premiere free-enterprise research and advocacy organization. The nonprofit Center is funded entirely by private tax-deductible donations and never accepts public funding. The mission of the 501-C-3 organization is to return government to the people by opposing special-interest politics and advancing proven free-market solutions that can transform lives by restoring economic competitiveness, increasing educational opportunities, and protecting individual freedoms.