Is there a new transportation super-agency in Rhode Island’s future? Perhaps.
On March 25, the new Raimondo administration quietly opened bids for a contract to provide “Transportation Management Assessment and Review Services.”
Among the stated “goals of this investigation”: to take a step-back look at the effectiveness of having multiple state agencies operate different pieces of Rhode Island’s transportation network, from the ports and airports, to the RIPTA bus routes and road-builders.
It would be very helpful if RIDOT and RIPTA were more integrated on projects; if there was always a mass transit person at the table when RIDOT work was being planned. It is a little worrying that RIPTA could be merged with an agency that still has not proven that it can move beyond car-first thinking when it comes to transportation.
It is not just RIPTA and RIDOT though, airport manangement, port management, and Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (which controls our bridges and tolls) could all be merged into a larger transportation agency.
It all comes down to how it is structured of course. It will be interesting to see what the conclusions of the review are.