May 25–PROVIDENCE, R.I. — As they fought back against Republican-led attacks to Rhode Island’s planned truck-toll network, state transportation officials Wednesday said they have chosen a company to design, build, operate and maintain the system.
Kapsch TrafficCom, an Austrian multinational corporation, beat out five other companies for the 10-year, $25-million contract, Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti Jr. said Wednesday.
The state will pay Kapsch $2.5 million a year to build and run the toll system, locking in the largest piece of the plan’s overhead costs, which Republican state lawmakers and trucking industry leaders blasted Tuesday.
“They’re wrong,” Alviti said about Republican claims that overhead costs will eat up all but $7.4 million of the $45 million in projected annual toll revenue from the system.
In response, the DOT released its own expense breakdown that pegged overhead costs at $3.8 million — $2.5 million to Kapsch and $1.3 million to the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority to collect the tolls, process transactions and levy penalties. Those costs would be offset by $1.1 million in late fees and penalties.
The bottom line: Rhode Island should net $42.3 million per year from the truck toll network, according to DOT projections.
Unlike the analysis from Republican lawmakers, the DOT cost analysis does not include $25 million in debt payments not directly connected to tolling and does not count the costs of financial incentives for the trucking industry passed after the tolling bill last year.
Alviti also objected to the Rhode Island Trucking Association’s charge that the state is unnecessarily rebuilding a Route 95 bridge over Oxford Street in Providence just to toll it.
The DOT is planning preventative maintenance of the Oxford Street Bridge in South Providence, not a full reconstruction, Alviti said. The repairs will cost $7.8 million versus $10 million for a reconstruction.
He said the timing of work at Oxford Street was not moved up as a result of a toll going there.
With Kapsch chosen, DOT expects to start construction on the toll network in the fall and be charging truckers at two locations by the end of the year. The full 14-gantry network is expected to be finished by mid-2019.
The first two toll locations are on Route 95 in Hopkinton and Exeter and will utilize the gantries previously used in the decommissioned Sakonnet Bridge tolls.
In addition to Kapsch, the other bidders for the toll contract were Raytheon, SICE Inc., Emovis Technologies US Inc., TransCore and Conduent.
On Twitter: @PatrickAnderso_
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