As many have likely already heard on the radio (WRNI has excellent coverage) or read in the ProJo’s reporting, the mayor set out a broad agenda (called “Operation Opportunity”) for spending of economic stimulus funding for the city. The sprawling, multi-objective plan will be put online and residents will be able to follow progress item by item.
Most interesting from an urbanism standpoint are the following:
- Time to obtain building permits to be cut by 50%
- Road rebuilding program to be put in place (minimum $10 million)
- Greater investment in the Port of Providence (as yet undetermined)
- Jewelry District to become biotech incubator for entrepreneurs
- Small business promotion and mentorship initiatives
- Plans for wind turbines on city property to be finalized in 18 months
- Double the number of online government services
- Streamline licensing and permitting processes
One hugely disappointing aspect of the otherwise well received address was that light rail (or any mass transit at all) went completely unmentioned. Looking at the plan’s objectives, I think the city (and thus the Mayor) need a stronger mass transit backbone to connect all of the educational, commercial, neighborhood, and governmental elements he discussed.
All of the reporting on the speech mentions that the only element to get applause from those in the room was a mention that city government would consolidate workers in office buildings with ample parking. So much for encouraging RIPTA use instead… Considering that efforts like the Port of Providence push, which the Mayor admits has no concrete form right now, received attention, I’d say the lack of any mass transit mention suggests that it is, depressingly, a low priority for City Hall (at least as far as use of stimulus funding goes)…
The full text of the address is here.