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ProJo: R.I. DOT chief Michael Lewis resigns; Raimondo appoints former Cranston DPW director Alviti to take his place

micheal-lewis-square1Rhode Island’s Department of Transportation Director Michael Lewis has resigned, and Governor Raimondo has chosen a former Cranston public works director with ties to the Laborers International Union of North America to take his place.

Late Tuesday afternon, Raimondo announced her choice of Peter Alviti as Rhode Island’s new DOT director. If he wins Senate confirmation, he will replace Lewis in the top spot in the state road and bridge building agency.

Raimondo chose Peter Garino as his top deputy. Garino has been “chief, capital programming and administration” for New Jersey Transit.


I don’t know anything about Alviti, but I was hoping the Governor would look for someone forward thinking from out-of-state. Color me unimpressed by having a former DPW director from Cranston running the state transportation agency.

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12 Responses to ProJo: R.I. DOT chief Michael Lewis resigns; Raimondo appoints former Cranston DPW director Alviti to take his place

  1. Mark Moreno February 17, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

    Let’s hope he likes bicycles!

  2. Jason February 17, 2015 at 7:41 pm #

    Likelihood of getting rid of 6/10 connector just went down substantially.

  3. Peter Brassard February 18, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    Besides pedestrians and bikes, I’m interested in hearing what Peter Alviti’s position is for bus and rail mass transit. Will the Rhode Island shuttle train pilot program that Michael Lewis was pushing for go forward? I assume that there’s a limited period for RI to select surplus MBTA train equipment that’s currently stored at Quonset. I believe that the state was looking at acquiring three train sets that would include two passenger cars for each set.

  4. Jef Nickerson February 18, 2015 at 9:39 am #

    I think the rail shuttle was as much, if not more so, Linc’s project as Michael Lewis’. So we probably need to ensure that Gina supports it and directs the new Director to continue working on it.

  5. James February 18, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    If he’s from Cranston and he’s smart he should want to remove at least Rt. 10. It’s getting old, will cost a lot to replace, is basically a reproduction of I-95 since it’s just another north-south route, and cuts a lot of nice Cranston neighborhoods from a lot of nice Providence ones. And the Cranston bike path would be of great utility someday if we ever removed 10, since that’s what cuts off access to all but the most daring cyclists on Cranston Street.

    I’m not hearing good things bubbling about the choices that Raimondo has made, but I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic until I see anything directly bad.

  6. Mark Moreno February 18, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    We spend too much on useless and redundant highways that do more harm that good for a community instead of investing in Transportation infrastructure that will actually improve the health of it’s citizens and the entire community as a whole. RIDOT Needs to change the way they spend money or else Rhode Island will never reach their full potential. I’ll remain optimistic for the meantime.

  7. Leo February 18, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

    RI should be thrilled. Up here in MA we have an incompetent token secretary. Her name is Stephanie Pollack, and she is unable to relay vital blizzard information to the Governor. Her family is wealthy (hence why she was selected). In turn, every Mass commuter has to suffer until she’s fired

  8. Jef Nickerson February 18, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

    ProJo: Raimondo confirms she talked to labor leaders on Alviti hiring

    Raimondo had been asked, by a Rhode Island Public Radio reporter, about widespread rumors that Armand Sabitoni had a role in her decision. Armand Sabitoni is the general secretary-treasurer & New England regional manager for the Laborers International Union of North America.

    “I did. I consulted with Michael, the transition team and business leaders, labor leaders…to find the best person I could,” she responded in an apparent reference to Michael Sabitoni, the president of the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council and business manager of the Rhode Island Laborers District Council who served on her transition team.

    “I think he may have been in some interviews,” she added. “I had a number of people do our interviews.”

    Sigh, I didn’t mention my reservations about the labor connection yesterday, but come on! You’re going to have the construction trades weigh in on hiring the guy who is going to spend money on the construction trades, really?

    Also, she *thinks* he might have been in some interviews? Either he was or he wasn’t, this seems to be a detail that can be confirmed, not simply vaguely recalled.

    When RIPR asked about “Armand’s imput,” she said: “He was very helpful. He has a lot of expertise in this area.”

    The ‘area’ she is refering to is not buses and trains and pedestrians and bicycles.

  9. barry February 19, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    4 years ago when Mike Lewis was up for re-confirmation, highway builder contractors and construction unions put up some opposition. As I understand it, Mike as an outsider saw a system where the clug of a handful of contractors bid low to get the job, but their friends at DOT would issue lots of change orders to greatly boost the cost and the profits. Mike tried to put a stop to that and they pushed back, perhaps still are.

  10. Peter Friedrichs February 19, 2015 at 9:11 pm #

    Sigh.

  11. mothra February 22, 2015 at 11:12 am #

    Leo: I doubt that Stephanie Pollack was picked because her family is wealthy. She is a very ardent advocate for environmental issues including around transportation having been with Conservation Law Foundation and an environmental business consulting firm for many years.

    And while I realize I can say this easily from afar–to judge ANYONE on this year’s never-ending snowstorm is really doing everyone a disservice. I doubt that even someone from Minnesota who magically had all the knowledge of a Bostonian implanted in his or her brain could have dealt with what Boston has been dealing with for the last month.

  12. Jef Nickerson February 23, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

    PBN: Replacing Lewis as DOT head ?a misstep for Gov. Raimondo

    Mr. Alviti may be a fine head of the DOT, but his track record gives little indication that he is up to the task. In fact, his appointment smacks more of a political calculation designed to engender warm feelings with a large union in the state.

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