As Rhode Island Crumbles

See, this sort of thing ought to be a state government’s first priority:

After reexamining the condition of Rhode Island’s bridges, the state Department of Transportation has identified the need for “approximately $600 million in bridge repair and replacement projects” over the next five years, Governor Carcieri told a press conference today.
But the money may not be there. Rhode Island is in danger of losing $60 million to $70 million in federal transportation aid each year. The state’s 30-cent gasoline tax cannot make up the difference. And even if the state’s must-fix list is pared to high-priority projects, he said, the state faces a potential $210 million shortfall in available funding.

All of the other areas of state spending may or may not be desirable, but roads are fundamental, and raising taxes and tolls to pay for them is not the solution.

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Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

With each passing day this State is more and more reminiscent of the early chapters of Atlas Shrugged.

Aldo
Aldo
13 years ago

Gee, isn’t it a coincidence that the Chief of Staff for RIDOT is the brother of the Senate Finance Cmte Chair.
Wonder why his salary is over $163,000 between pay and benefits?
Wonder why the Projo never seems to look at his background and qualifications?
We get the Government we deserve!

Aldo
Aldo
13 years ago

Gee, isn’t it a coincidence that the Chief of Staff for RIDOT is the brother of the Senate Finance Cmte Chair.
Wonder why his salary is over $163,000 between pay and benefits?
Wonder why the Projo never seems to look at his background and qualifications?
We get the Government we deserve!

Mario
Mario
13 years ago

I’m not sure I understand why you believe it would be better to fund transportation funds out of income or sales taxes rather than more directly attributable sources, like tolls and the gas tax. That’s what it comes down to; it you believe that the money must be spent, and it doesn’t come from the latter sources than it must come from the former or something similar (ignoring, for the moment, “free” Federal funds).

Justin Katz
13 years ago

Mario,
I’m not saying that “it would be better to fund transportation funds out of income or sales taxes rather than more directly attributable sources, like tolls and the gas tax.” I’m saying that increasing the public-sector burden on citizens whether by taxes, tolls, or fees is not a viable solution to our problems.
It might be worthwhile to focus sources of revenue more rationally (like directing gas taxes, tolls, and other transportation-related sources of state income directly to transportation infrastructure), but they should be offset by decreases in citizens’ cost-of-government in other areas (e.g., corporate taxes and income taxes).

Ken
Ken
13 years ago

Yesterday oil hit $110.20 per barrel.
Today Hawaii diesel fuel hit $4.014 per gallon and regular unleaded gasoline is averaging $3.606 per gallon state-wide even with the state of Hawaii rolling back gasoline tax by 12 cents. When gasoline hits $5 a gallon that is when I’ll start riding the bus more.
By summer, east coast and RI will be seeing $4 plus a gallon gasoline which should cut down on number of vehicles on the roads and bridges.
RI might be able to extend out the $600 million in bridge repair and replacement projects of course if the state gasoline tax is raised on top of the current surge in retail fuel pricing that will really hurt RI consumers.
Too bad RI and RIPTA have not upgraded public transportation system!
Everyone should start seeing prices for goods and services rise due to fuel costs rising.

John
John
13 years ago

Ken,
You’re missing the plot. It is far more important in RI to provide the best deal in the nation for pulbic sector union workers and social safety net recipients than a good deal for the poor middle class and affluent schmucks that actually pay the taxes that keep the state going (I assume from reading your posts that you’re too smart to hide behind the FIP = Welfare, let’s just forget about the cost of Rite Care, Child Care, subsidized housing, heating, school meals, etc. dodge).
Like I’ve said elsewhere, why not bet on Sgouros insight?

Ken
Ken
13 years ago

John,
Sgouros insight in reality is not going to lower the impending high cost of fuel and inflated living expenses that are going to exasperate increased cost of living for everyone (rich, middle, and poor).
In Hawaii those people and families that no longer can afford housing, live in tents on the beach because all beaches are open and free to the public plus all beaches have public water and toilets. Some of the families made up to 5-6 digits a year! However, there is a move to clean up the beaches and move these people into state provided transitional housing.
We all know the reason why this is happening in Hawaii, change over from rental to condo and inflated prices for housing. Hawaii has one of the highest costs of housing in the US but one of the lowest foreclosure, bankruptcy and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the US. Sverage family of 4 must make at least $61K to live.
You will see an increase of homeless and jobless moving into east coast and RI as prices rise slowly over the coming months.
RI will not be able to support the increase demand or understand how to deal with it.

Ken
Ken
13 years ago

John,
By the way, 2 years ago Hawaii Republican Governor and Democratic General Assembly projected a slow down in the economy and had the foresight to start putting stop gap measures in place to maintain the states economy. Hawaii is projected to obtain modest state-wide growth during the impending recession.
State of Hawaii also does state-wide sustainability studies which the current completed report is projected out to year 2050.
What does RI do to protect the fiscal health of the state?

Tom W
Tom W
13 years ago

>>What does RI do to protect the fiscal health of the state?
The Democrat General Assembly took another puff of tobacco money and punted to the next fiscal year. Just as they’ve done for several years now.
It’s hard to say which is their preeminent characteristic (for it’s nearly a tie): corruption or incompetence.
The sad part is, as the State is now fiscally imploding, and its hollowed-out economy contracting, they’ll blame someone or something else, and most of the electorate will buy it because we all know that Democrats care about “working families.”

Monique
13 years ago

… certain ones, anyway, TomW.

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