Mayor Angel Taveras, who was warning that the city was close to bankruptcy four months ago, now wants to borrow $40 million to repave 62 miles of streets and make other infrastructure improvements.
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The city may have financial problems… but how can we attract investment in the city when the roads are literally falling apart? 90% of the dirt roads in VT and NH are much nicer to drive on than the roads in Providence. Heck, I’d rather drive over obnoxious frost heaves than most of the roads in Providence. It makes it dangerous for cars, bikes, and pedestrians having our roads in the condition they’re in.
I hate and complain about our roads as much as anyone. But holy crap we can borrow $40M for roads and pay $25,000 per parking spot and there isn’t a dime for a streetcar or fixing Kennedy Plaza so it doesn’t suck or building a cheap pedestrian bridge so that more folks have easy access to the JD or build a park along the water in the JD so that have somewhere to go while we wait for parking lot destinations…
Terrible idea. I’d rather have gravel roads in poor repair than more long-term debt added. $40 million in principal borrowed is several times that in interest — the total cost would probably exceed $100 million. If we did this, we’d have a few better streets and our taxes would if anything continue going up for decades. If we want to attract for-profit businesses, we need to get the taxes lowered. Why is that such a difficult concept?
This idea of borrowing $40 million sounds like a response to union requests for more union work. Rather than hiring union workers, why not use ACI (volunteered) labor, or establish a WPA (Works Project Administration)-like authority that could give work to the many unemployed at lower but still reasonable rates of pay? Some creative thinking please, Mr. Mayor.
I have to say something here. RI and Providence in particular has some of the WORST roads in the country.
So I’m all for $40 million to repave and fix 62 miles of roadway in the city. This will mean streets like Knight St, Vinton St. etc. will get repaved.
As to the streetcar – I think that’s a dead issue. What originally was to cost $75 Million is now almost double that. Plus I see a lack of vision on the part of RIPTA to embrace an electrified streetcar.
I should say this: the streets suck, they need to be fixed, bonding to do that kind of work is probably not all that unusual, and this would make Taveras very popular with the many RIers who use the roads in Providence and feel ashamed, not to mention fearful.
That being said, I wish that this was happening in conjunction with policies that could realistically decrease road use making costly repairs a less frequent need in the future because more people can move around Providence with alternative modes of transit.
This also has to happen in conjunction with holding the utilities responsible for the crappy patch jobs they do after underground repairs. Those patch jobs are one the biggest causes of problems on the streets. Look at Harris Ave between Broadway and Eagle Square.