Statement From RI Transit Riders

 

RI Transit Riders opposes H7983 and H8006, which impose a moratorium on the payment of the fuel tax until December 31, 2022, and June 30, 2023, respectively.  As written, it would cripple RI transit service since the RI Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) depends on gas tax revenue to maintain its operations, and of course RIDOT depends on that revenue to help maintain the roads that the buses and all other users depend on.

While budget adjustments could be made to keep RIPTA and RIDOT funded,  the best solution to high gas prices is not to increase demand for gasoline by making driving cheaper, but to encourage alternatives to gasoline consumption by promoting alternatives such as electric cars, walking, bicycling, and use of transit.

We note neighboring CT, though suspending part of its gas tax, also made the state buses free to passengers for the same period.  This more equitably helps low-income people who do not drive but also face inflationary pressures, it also encourages those who do drive to take transit, thus helping reduce demand for gasoline and better protect the environment and the climate.  Such considerations should also be given to Rhode Islanders including transit riders.  To do this we estimate adding additional $1.5 million/month to RIPTA’s budget would aid in creating a healthier climate and providing a benefit for essential workers who remain on the front lines of the pandemic.

Rhode_Island-2022-H7983-Introduced

From The RI Transit Riders:

We are an independent grassroots group that was formed to preserve, expand, and improve public transportation in Rhode Island. We have been working on transit issues since 2010, when members of the social justice and environmental communities came together to form the group. We have successfully fought to stop fare hikes, secure more funding for RIPTA and to restore the no-fare bus pass for seniors and disabled.

 

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