Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo on Monday put forward the second piece of what she says will be her campaign’s comprehensive jobs plan, proposing a significant increase in state spending on infrastructure.
Raimondo proposed the creation of a Rhode Island Municipal Infrastructure Bank, a new government entity to help municipalities, businesses and homeowners upgrade their facilities at lower cost. Within the Municipal Infrastructure Bank, she suggested expanding the new Municipal Road and Bridge Revolving Fund; establishing a funding formula for road and bridge repairs at the state and local levels; creating a Green Bank; and launching a School Building Authority.
WPRI has a link to the full proposal on their webpage.
So, I’m surprised to not see more discussion of this. Do you consider this a good thing, or bad? I’m pretty suspicious that it sounds like a way to just put more general funding into roads, i.e., highways and suburban bridges, rather than into transit, road diets, protected bike lanes, etc. Is it fair for me to have that suspicion?
Not really fair. RIDOT and city planning has more to do with that. This is more akin to state infrastructure banking where we have a more reliable and consistent flow of capital out to infrastructure projects offered at lower interest rates. The interest and principle are used to maintain that flow rather than profit such that spending is always possible at consistent levels.
Right now we go through convoluted processes that cause lots of spikes and dips and times when emergency projects crowd out good maintenance and redesign or even can’t get done themselves. This reduces substantially the unpredictability.
Thanks, good feedback, Jason.