Washington Bridge: Full Investigation Now

In mid-March, the day after his administration announced that a full replacement, not just repair, of the Washington Bridge would be needed, Governor Dan McKee promised

accountability and the day of reckoning for those who are responsible for the position we’re in …

further promising to

hold any responsible parties fully accountable.

even if that extends to the prior governor.

Gina Raimondo’s leadership came up and the Governor promised to hold those accountable, even if it goes back in time.

Part of that accountability was to be a “forensic analysis” which the governor said he expected to receive in the first week of April.

In early April — oops, the “forensic analysis” is still not complete because the firm conducting it now wants to view “archival documents”.

Almost simultaneously, Governor McKee announced that he had engaged a law firm

… tasked with seeking financial recovery from any responsible parties related to the Washington Bridge failure.

… The combined expertise on this legal team will put the State in a strong position to build the best possible case for Rhode Island taxpayers and deliver the accountability they deserve.

From that point, we all started getting the impression that the governor’s vision of “full accountability” was limited to trying to recoup money from the contractors who had worked on the bridge over the decades. Contractors who had gotten full sign off on their work from the state, via RIDOT, before they received payment.

WPRI’s Ted Nesi shares that impression, which he expounded on with Ian Donnis and Rhode Island Current’s Nancy Lavin on The Public’s Radio last week.

There’s been no big announcement of a, you know, a day of reckoning or even just a we figured out what went wrong we’re going to do this [try to recoup financially] instead. So, until that day comes, I think there’s going to be a lot of public frustration.

Now comes the stunning news that no company bid to rebuild the bridge.

Excerpt from Ken Block’s epic, spot-on reaction on GoLocalProv. (Please do read the whole thing.)

It is bad enough that the RIDOT did not properly maintain the bridge or proactively determine it was failing. Now, we pay the price because the RIDOT put together an RFP that was so deficient that no one would bid on it.

Full investigation. Now. Everyone under oath, specifically including the Director of RIDOT, every RIDOT staffer who viewed and/or signed off on Washington Bridge inspection reports and former Governor “Gina Jams” Raimondo.

Without this, the public cannot have confidence that our elected officials – not just the governor – are handling the catastrophic closure of the Washington Bridge with full transparency, honesty and the best interest of the public as the top priority.

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