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RI Bridge Repair Plan with No Tolls Introduced by GOP Members

Thursday, October 08, 2015


The Rhode Island General Assembly Republican Policy Group released their Bridge Repair Plan on Wednesday, which they say does not contain any new taxes, fees or tolls, but largely relies solely on existing funds that are already collected from Rhode Island's taxpayers.

Read Plan Summary HERE

In a joint statement by members (see below), the group issued the following statement:
"We agree with Governor Raimondo that our bridges are in deplorable condition and we must begin to fix them now, not later.  As a safety issue, it must be our highest priority.  With that being said, tolling all our major highways is the wrong policy for Rhode Island. We already are a highly-taxed state – and additional taxes in the form of tolls will hurt our residents, our businesses and our economy.

In the same timeframe as the Governor’s toll proposal, we can fix our bridges using current funds at far less cost to taxpayers. Our plan eliminates the need to construct and maintain 17-20 toll gantries, as well as the ongoing expenses to run the toll program."

Read Comparison to Governor's Proposal HERE

"Commercial tolls will be passed along to Rhode Islanders through increased costs. Not only does our plan eliminate that risk but also our plan prevents the need for gantries.  Without gantries there is no risk that passenger vehicles will be tolled in the future."

Cost Savings Cited

The group further cited cost savings on plan.

“Perhaps most important, our plan eliminates the need to borrow money to fund our bridge repairs – saving taxpayers nearly $600 Million in borrowing costs. As you remember, the Governor proposed her tolling plan only 3 weeks before the end of our last session. We quickly realized that the plan calls for paying $1.2 billion over the life of the bond in order to get $700 million today – irresponsibly burdening our children. Although Wall Street and major law firms surely want our $600 million in borrowing costs, we feel it should stay in Rhode Islander’s pockets.

Luckily, passage of the Governor’s toll proposal stalled, giving us time to dissect the existing budget to find the money. Rhode Island has an $8.7 billion budget.  The yearly expenditures we propose represent less than 1% of that total, and we have identified existing funds to finance the effort.

While others may reasonably differ with the sources we choose to reallocate, we are willing to study any alternative from existing spending.  What we will not consider are any proposals that employ massive debt financing or tolls that will burden our state's consumers, trucking industry and businesses for decades to come."

See the Funding Sources HERE

"Although the Republican Policy Group plan provides $250 million more funding than the Governor’s most recent proposal, it is also necessary for RIDOT to make the structural changes in its operations to maximize the value of each dollar.  Cost overruns, sub-standard materials and faulty workmanship must be failures of the past. Waste and inefficient systems must be eliminated. We are happy to see that the Governor has taken the necessary first steps to reform this essential department and we expect continued progress."

The Republican Policy Group consists of Chairman Representative Patricia Morgan (R–District 26, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), Representative Michael Chippendale (R–District  40, Foster, Glocester, Coventry), Representative Anthony Giarrusso (R–District 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich), Representative Blake Filippi (Independent-District 36, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly, New Shoreham), Representative Sherry Roberts (R-District 29, Coventry, West Greenwich), Representative Dan Reilly (R-District 72, Middletown, Portsmouth), Representative Justin Price (R-District 29, Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond), Senator Nick Kettle (R-District 21, Coventry, Foster, Scituate, West Greenwich,), Senator Mark Gee (R-District 35, East Greenwich, Narragansett, North Kingstown, South Kingstown), and Senator Elaine Morgan (R-District 34, Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond, West Greenwich)


Related Slideshow: RI’s Most Dangerous Bridges

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association recently released a list of the most traveled, deficient bridges in each state. In Rhode Island, those bridges were: 

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US-6 eastbound and westbound over US-6A/Hartford Avenue.

52,678 daily crossings

The bridge is structurally deficient

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RI-146/Ed Dowl Highway over RI-246/Charles Street.

72,800 daily crossings

The bridge is structurally deficient

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RI-146/Ed Dowl Highway over RI-15/Mineral Spring Avenue.

72,800 daily crossings

The bridge is structurally deficient

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I-195 westbound over the Seekonk River. 

76,700 daily crossings

The bridge is structurally deficient

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I-95 northbound and southbound over RI-2/Quaker Lane.

77,800 daily crossings

The bridge is structurally deficient

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I-95 northbound and southbound over Wellington Avenue.

147,984 daily crossings

The bridge is structurally deficient

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I-95 northbound and southbound over Jefferson Boulevard.

156,400 daily crossings

The bridge is structurally deficient

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I-95 northbound and southbound over Amtrak.

159,200 daily crossings

The bridge is structurally deficient

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Broad Street over I-95 northbound and southbound and the P&W Railroad.

179,600 daily crossings

The bridge is structurally deficient

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Interstate 95 northbound and southbound over US-1 (Elmwood Avenue).

186,500 daily crossing

The bridge is structurally deficient


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