Always Money for the Trifles

I don’t know enough about the project in question to endorse his insinuations, but William Stanley, of Cranston, does point out a curious allocation of limited resources:

Both of these bridges are critical to the residents, especially because without them, such emergency services as police, rescue and firefighting must travel a considerable distance, and in that lost time a person could die.
What bothers me is that new sidewalks are being constructed in various places in West Warwick. Is it a coincidence that this is being done in the town that state Representatives William Murphy and Timothy Williamson, both powerful political figures, represent? Perhaps the money was earmarked to do the sidewalks, but under these emergency conditions, should not the money have been diverted to repair these critical bridges? Politics in Rhode Island? Nah!

Sometimes, complex systems like government simply allocate resources inefficiently, so corruption isn’t necessarily in play. At the very least, though, we could suggest that Mr. Stanley’s observation would be an excellent place to begin looking for means of improvement of government operations.

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11 years ago

What Mr. William Stanley of Cranston fails to do is connect the dots between possible damage to the Laurel Avenue Bridge, in Coventry, and the River Street Bridge, in Warwick and installation of sidewalks in West Warwick without alluding to political corruption.
If the sidewalk installation in West Warwick is using federal funds then those funds cannot be used for other purposes which in these hard economic times I would be willing to bet the funds are from federal stimulus public works funds.
I also highly doubt West Warwick is going to give up its public works funds to Warwick and Coventry to use.
Comments and misinformation with alluding to political corruption like this continues to foster popular misconception that Rhode Island is the most corrupt state in the nation.

11 years ago

Yeah, the sidewalks are a dubious part of the “stimulus” program (they started long before the floods), and you can’t just transfer federal funds from one project to another. You would have to get permission to do that (I think it would require an act of Congress), and if you are going down that road, it would be just as easy to secure new funding for the bridges rather than taking money away from a half-completed project.
I don’t even think you could call the initial funding for the sidewalks evidence of corruption, really. Basically Obama was looking for just about any project he could dump money into, as long as most or all of the planning had already taken place. West Warwick got the award because they’ve been slowly implementing a plan to boost the prospects of the Arctic business district by changing and improving traffic flow. They got the money because they could start spending it right away.

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