Is Rhode Island ready to step up for New Orleans?
One suggestion for finding funding to pay for the $200B reconstruction of New Orleans is to redirect funding allocated in the recently passed highway bill. Here is the list of projects earmarked for Rhode Island, straight from the text of the bill. Are Rhode Islanders — citizens and Congressional delegation alike — willing to step up and declare that they are willing to sacrifice some of these projects to help rebuild a decimated American city?
|Transportation Improvements for the Apponaug Bypass||$22,000,000|
|Transportation Improvements for the Washington Secondary Bicycle Facility/Coventry Greenway/Trestle Trail (Coventry)||$4,000,000|
|Transportation Improvements for the Northwest Biketrail/Woonasquatucket River Greenway (Providence, Johnston)||$6,000,000|
|New Interchange constructed from I-195 to Taunton and Warren Avenue in East Providence||$7,000,000|
|Transportation Improvements for the Blackstone River Bikeway (Providence, Woonsocket)||$10,000,000|
|Transportation Improvements for the Jamestown Bridge Demolition–Bicycle Access/Trestle Span Demolition/Fishing Pier (N. Kingstown)||$4,000,000|
|Weybosset Street (200 Block) Streetscape and Drop-off Lane Improvement-Providence||$750,000|
|Acquisition of fee or easement, construction of a trail, and site improvements in Foster||$1,000,000|
|Open space acquisition to mitigate growth associated with SR 4 and Interstate 95, by non-profit land conservation agencies through acquisition of fee or easement, with a match requirement of 50% of the total purchase price||$8,000,000|
|Replace Sakonnet Bridge||$7,000,000|
|Transportation Enhancements at Blackstone Valley Heritage Corridor||$500,000|
|Bury the Power Lines at India Point||$2,500,000|
|Restore and Expand Maritime Heritage site in Bristol||$500,000|
|Transportation Improvements for the Colt State Park Bike Path||$2,000,000|
|Construct trails and facility improvements within the Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge complex||$1,000,000|
|Improvements for the Commuter rail in Rhode Island||$5,000,000|
|Transportation Improvements for the East Main Road in Middletown||$5,000,000|
|Downtown Circulation Improvements Providence||$2,000,000|
|Transportation Improvements for the Route 138 (South Kingstown)||$4,000,000|
|Transportation Improvements for the Route 1 Gilbert Stuart Turnaround (N. Kingstown)||$2,750,000|
|Rehabilitate and improve Rt. 138 from Rt. 108 to Rt. 2||$12,000,000|
|Improve traffic circulation and road surfacing in downtown Providence||$5,000,000|
|Improve access to Pell Bridge in Newport||$5,000,000|
|Completion of Washington Secondary Bike Path from Coventry to Connecticut Border||$7,000,000|
|Replace Warren Bridge in Warren||$11,000,000|
|Rehabilitation of Stillwater Viaduct in Smithfield||$5,000,000|
|Completion of Greenway from Johnston to Providence||$5,000,000|
|Replace Natick Bridge in Warwick and West Warwick||$5,000,000|
I lived in Rhode Island for about 15 years and I know a good number of these places and what the money would be spent on. In all honesty, given the rampant corruption of Rhode Island and government in general, I’m surprised at the number of these projects that I would consider as being worth doing.
The one which stands out as goofy-as-hell would be
“Open space acquisition to mitigate growth associated with SR 4 and Interstate 95, by non-profit land conservation agencies through acquisition of fee or easement, with a match requirement of 50% of the total purchase price”
The area where 4 and 95 intersect is not particularly pristine or worth spending a lot of money to keep it rural when there are huge amounts of space south of there which are rural.
I don’t know the details of the Appanoag bypass, but I know the intersection (Centerville and Post) and it’s not an urgent thing, really. Yeah, the intersection is a pain, but it’s no worse than a lot of places in the Boston area.
It would be nice to see non-profits paying for the bike paths (maybe they contribute, I don’t know).
I agree with your general sentiment, Bruce. I’ll do a full posting on this later this evening, but my general sentiment is bridges yes, bikepaths no. It’s not that I don’t like bikepaths, it’s just a matter of prioritization.
Also I find the amounts a bit curious. $7,000,000 to replace the Sakonnet bridge AND $7,000,000 for a bikepath from Coventry to the Connecticut border? Something seems amiss there.
I’d like to see the cuts, but $152M is a drop in a milk jug compared to what’s necessary to ameliorate the effects of Katrina relief.
I agree with Andrew, bridges yes/bikepaths no, but not as a matter of priorities but appropriateness.
Having the Federal Government “chip in” for road construction makes sense: People who don’t live in the area use the roads.
However, bikepaths are for purely local use and should be funded locally.
I’m a native of southern Rhode Island who’s lived on the west coast for a while, where I work in state government. I drove over the new Jamestown bridge while visiting family in R.I. over Labor Day. If the old Jamestown Bridge sits there for a while longer, it’s hard to see big deal. As we say in the budget biz, whack it, and put the money where it’s needed, given the very different circumstances since that bloated highway bill was passed.
I used to live in RI but it’s been a while.
$152 million is NOT just a ‘drop in the bucket’, considering the small size of RI. Even disregarding size that works out to $7.5 billion – probably about 5% of the total need. As Sen. Everett Dirkson once said, “a billion dollars here, a billion dollars there – pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”
I expect the cost efficiency of the listed projects to be roughly comparable to the regional norm – ie. the ‘Big Dig’.
I agree completely with all but two (and I think any other Rhode Islander would agree)
1. New Interchange constructed from I-195 to Taunton and Warren Avenue in East Providence $7,000,000
2.Rehabilitate and improve Rt. 138 from Rt. 108 to Rt. 2 $12,000,000
Both are pretty significant amounts of money, but if completed would improve safety in a major way, and are considerably more worthwhile than bike paths.
I’m open to arguments for preserving any of the bridge/traffic circulation type projects.
However, while that debate is going on, here is the $49,000,000 worth of funding that I believe should be redirected to New Orleans without any protracted debate…