Greater City Providence

News & Notes: Things in the ProJo you should read Edition

The Journal had a few good articles this weekend that we all should be reading:

Editorial: Stop Route 195 commission

The overriding state interest in the land is its federally mandated sale at fair-market value. A commission is not required for that. Indeed, a commission may retard both the land’s sale and its development.

Instead, the land should be sold to be developed under existing municipal authority. Let market forces guide its progress. That would be much more efficient than seven commissioners and their train of agencies, lawyers, consultants and other hangers-on. In fact, as of now the bill looks as if it is intended to create the next secure feed bag for the well-connected.

Abel Collins/Arnold Chace: A plan for common-sense transportation

Rhode Island faces a crisis in finding financing for its transportation system. While we search for a sustainable alternative to putting $80 million on Rhode Island’s credit card (via bonds) every two years for transportation projects, we also need to make sure we’re not wasting the dollars we do have creating a transportation system that doesn’t work well for us.

Forward-looking leaders at the U.S. Department of Transportation, such as Secretary Ray LaHood, and policy makers here in Rhode Island, such as Michael Lewis, director of the state Department of Transportation, have embraced the concept of “complete streets.”

‘They just broke the city’

PROVIDENCE – General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo often says that politics are the culprit for the pension crisis – 30 years of elected officials extending benefits without putting aside money to pay for them.

But one of the state’s most infamous eras of pension offerings – what some say prompted “raids” on a system – began in Providence during the 1980s and did not involve any politicians answerable to taxpayers. At least not initially.

Update: And, one article from WPRI’s Ted Nesi you should be reading:

Providence libraries in limbo forces Fox, Taveras to intervene

Update 2: I’m probably just going to keep updating this as I go through my email and feeds and Tweets this morning, from Anchor Rising:

En Route to Trouble: The I-195 Redevelopment Act of 2011

In addition to deciding on all redevelopment plans for the soon-to-be-vacant highway property, the proposed quasi-public commission would have the power to buy and sell land, borrow and lend money, invest money and negotiate tax agreements | all without state or city approvals.

When this complete lack of accountability was pointed out to the committee chair, his response was laugh out loud funny.

Committee chairman Sen. John J. Tassoni Jr. pointed out that the commission must make annual reports to the General Assembly.

Oooo, an annual report! They’ll be quivering in their wingtips!

I aim to keep this site non-partisan, though I think my personal leftward leanings show through regardless. So you know when I link to Anchor Rising not once, but twice, on a particular topic because the commentators on Anchor Rising and I are in complete agreement, then something must really stink.

Jef Nickerson

Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.

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