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Tag Archives | Gina Raimondo

CommonWealth: Dear Gov. Raimondo: Express trains wrong ask

Providence Station Adam Moss

Ari Ofsevit and James Aloisi write an open letter to Gov. Raimondo in CommonWealth Magazine in response to her call for express commuter rail service between Providence and Boston.

But rather than single express trains serving a few commuters, we respectfully suggest low-cost, common-sense improvements that would benefit everyone.

At our non-profit TransitMatters, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how to improve intercity rail in Massachusetts (we will be rolling out a regional rail white paper before the end of the year). We believe that better service is a combination of improved speed and frequency, providing a wider range of benefits in many corridors. The good news is that in the Boston-to-Providence corridor, there are two relatively low-cost steps — high-level platforms and electrification — that the MBTA can take (perhaps with Rhode Island’s help) that would significantly improve service between these two dynamic cities.

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ProJo: Raimondo pushes out managers, dismisses employees at ‘dysfunctional’ DOT

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Image from RIDOT

Having diagnosed Rhode Island’s transportation bureaucracy as “dysfunctional,” Governor Raimondo Wednesday outlined the steps she’s taking to fix it — with or without revenue from proposed truck tolls.

In an overhaul of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation that started earlier this year, Raimondo said she has pushed out several managers, adopted private-sector planning processes and begun hiring workers to reduce the agency’s reliance on outside contractors.

RIDOT has also either dismissed or accepted the resignation of “four or five” unidentified employees for “dishonesty,” including false record keeping and not being where they said they were, according to Director Peter Alviti.


I don’t have anything nice to say about RIDOT so I won’t say anything at all.

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Barry Schiller: Rhode Works – $4.8 Billion for Rhode Island Transportation

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The crumbling Warren Avenue bridge in East Providence was recently replace. Image from RIDOT

Barry Schiller, a retired Rhode Island College math professor, is a long-time member of the State Planning Council’s Transportation Advisory Committee. He also was on the RIPTA Board of Directors 1995-1999.

What is your 10 year vision for transportation in Rhode Island? The Governor and her new RIDOT leaders propose their answer on the home page of the RIDOT website where there is a link to a 10 year $4.8 billion transportation plan called “Rhode Works.” This is about $1.1 billion more than current funding levels. A $700 million revenue bond is proposed for funding “replacement, reconstruction, and maintenance” of state bridges, the bond to be paid back by tolls on large commercial trucks crossing some bridges on Routes 95, 195, 295, 146, and 6/10. $400 million is set aside for the Route 6/10 bridges. There is a goal to reduce the percentage of our deficient bridges from about 22% to 10%. There will be a hearing on the proposed tolls at House Finance on Tuesday evening June 2.

Another $400 million to fund Rhode Works is from seeking $400 million in federal “New Start” transit funds. Rhode Works promises a “new commitment to provide increased bus and rail services.” The only specific transit project mentioned is an express bus lane on Routes 6/10. Rhode Works also promises “funding for bike lanes and accessible sidewalks.” There is no mention of bike paths.

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News & Notes – PawSox Edition

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PawSox dugout at McCoy Stadium. Photo (cc) Eric Kilby

WPRI: Lucchino responds to skepticism over proposed Providence ballpark

Lucchino, one of the team’s new owners, said the project is a clear economic engine for the local economy, and not just through baseball.

“We have to build a ballpark that has multiple uses, that can attract football and could attract concerts, that can have some art events at the thing,” he said. “Make it an major civic center for Providence.”

[…]

Lucchino believes the new park will not only boost the economy, but also revitalize downtown Providence. He hopes to bring a million people to the capital city by generating small businesses and jobs.


PBN: Pawsox greeted by skeptical I-195 commission and audience

Owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox presented a detailed plan for moving the AAA team to downtown Providence Monday, earning a skeptical if not critical reception from the commission that controls the site the team wants for its new ballpark.

In questions posed during the meeting of the Interstate 195 Redevelopment District Commission, commissioners questioned both the public cost and the tax benefits of the proposed development, and whether the state could find a more effective use for the site to attract highly desirable high-tech or life sciences development to the I-195 lands.

The question of other uses seems odd, so far as I know we still haven’t found a way out of the federal requirement for park land at this location.


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I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Meeting – April 6, 2015

A meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission will be held at Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Providence, Rhode Island, on MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2015, beginning at 5 P.M., for the following purposes

195-roundI. Public Session

  1. Welcoming Remarks by Governor Raimondo.
  2. Welcoming Remarks by Mayor Elorza.
  3. Welcome by Chairperson Joseph Azrack.
  4. Executive Director’s Report and Review of Materials, and Introduction of Commission Consultants, Fuss & O’Neill and DK Communications.
  5. Presentation by Lisa Pinsonneault of Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office regarding Open Meetings Act.
  6. Discussion and Adoption of Revised 2015 Commission Meeting Schedule, May – December.
  7. Discussion and Vote regarding Adoption of the 2014 City of Providence Zoning Ordinance.
  8. II. Executive Session

    To consider and act upon such matters as may be considered at a meeting closed to the public pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws, Section 42-46-5(a) (the Open Meetings Law), specifically matters permitted to be so considered under subsection (5) (acquisition and disposition of public property).

    III. Public Session

  9. Chairman’s Remarks.
  10. Vote to Adjourn.
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ProJo: Developers say lack of state support stalled project for I-195 land

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A lawyer and a doctor who hoped to build life-sciences laboratories on former highway land in the capital city have given up on their efforts because they say they haven’t received necessary state support.

Timothy H. Ehrlich, a Boston lawyer who represents biotechnology companies, and Dr. Johannes Fruehauf, president of the Cambridge Biolabs project in Massachusetts, pitched a Providence Biolabs project last June to the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission. They hoped to encourage start-up companies to develop into viable entities whose scientific research might lead to new treatments for diseases and might otherwise improve people’s health.

“We had to suspend our Providence Biolabs initiative when it became clear that there was not sufficient state support available to bring a shared laboratory to Providence,” Fruehauf told The Providence Journal.


This article does not have any comment from the Governor’s office and only a non-specific comment from the 195 Commission’s spokesperson, so take that as you will. It however does not sound very good.

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ProJo: Raimondo administration steps up role on I-195 land

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State officials are looking at the wisdom of adding to the land that falls under control of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission and the feasibility of allowing a stadium on the vacant state property in downtown Providence.

[…]

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, which Pryor leads as commerce secretary, last Friday began the search for a consultant to help devise a real-estate development strategy for the land opened by the highway relocation project.

The agency released a request for proposal that contemplates the highway commission controlling development of property adjacent to the highway corridor in downtown Providence, as well as evaluating “special purpose uses” for the land, including “athletic/stadium/entertainment facilities, structured parking, etc.” The request was made in conjunction with the commission and the City of Providence.


It is good that this Governor is actively working to develop this land. I do however worry about the State’s involvement in developing downtown. I don’t have too much faith in the understanding of urbanism and what makes a good city at the State level (Exhibit 1: State House surface parking).

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ProJo: Raimondo looking at tolls to finance roadwork

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Open-road toll installation in Illinois. Photo (cc) Tony Webster.

After more than a year of wrangling over the much-criticized Sakonnet River Bridge toll, Rhode Island lawmakers announced last June that they had created a long-term solution for financing Rhode Island’s roads and bridges that would avert the need for the toll.

Raimondo put the potential for tolls back on the bargaining table in a weekend Associated Press story about the poor condition of many of Rhode Island’s roads and bridges — and the uncertainty about future federal highway funding.

“We need to take a comprehensive look at solutions, everything from public-private partnerships to tolling,” Raimondo said.

See also: Rhode Island’s Future: Raimondo toll plan deserves progressive support
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Governor Raimondo nominates six new members to the 195 Commission

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Press release from the Governor’s office:


Raimondo Takes First Steps in Attracting Economic Growth to I-195 Land

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor Gina Raimondo today announced six nominations for the I-195 Redevelopment Commission as a first step in advancing efforts to revitalize the vacant parcel in Providence. Raimondo is submitting the six nominees for consideration to the Rhode Island Senate for confirmation. “We’re focused on expanding opportunity and creating jobs for Rhode Island families, and the 195 land can be a key lever to attract businesses and boost economic growth,” Raimondo said. “We are grateful to Colin Kane and the other former commissioners for their public service to the people of Rhode Island, which helped lay the groundwork for our efforts. I want to thank Joe, Bob, Beppie, Melissa, Ed and Sandra for their commitment to this critical project, which has the potential to move our state forward and create real economic opportunities for Rhode Islanders.”

The Governor is submitting the following names to the State Senate for confirmation:

  • Joseph F. Azrack (Raimondo’s choice for chair of the commission) of Little Compton
  • Robert C. Davis of South Kingstown
  • Elizabeth (Beppie) Huidekoper of Providence
  • Melissa Husband of Providence
  • Edwin J. Santos of North Kingstown
  • Sandra Smith of Providence

“We need to catalyze Rhode Island’s economy by capitalizing upon resources such as the developable land where I-195 once stood,” said Commerce Secretary nominee Stefan Pryor. “I am excited to work closely with the Commission on the build out of this land as an important part of our overall economic development effort.”

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WPRI: Colin Kane resigns as chairman of 195 Commission

The chairman of the commission tasked with overseeing the development of roughly 40 acres of land in downtown Providence left vacant by the relocation of I-195 has resigned.

“Colin offered his resignation, and the governor accepted,” Raimondo spokeswoman Marie Aberger told WPRI.com. “We asked for his continued advice and counsel, and he has agreed to stay on through the transition process. The governor is grateful for Colin’s dedicated service to the people of Rhode Island, which helped lay the groundwork for this project. We will have more details on what’s next for the commission in the coming days.”


Speculation has been since election-day that Raimondo wants to refresh the 195 Commission. The Governor campaigned on a manufacturing innovation hub being established on the 195 land. This contrasts with the current plans to sell off the land and allow the market to determine what gets built there.

Such a hub would not occupy all the land and there would be room for much of it to be sold off and developed independent of a state imposed framework for it.

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Capital Center Commission Design Review Committee Meeting – January 20, 2015

Francis Street Presentation.pdf

Design Review Committee of the Capital Center Commission Meeting
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 • 8:00 am
Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building
444 Westminster Street, 1st Floor Conference Room Providence, RI 02903

ccc-roundAgenda

  1. Roll Call
  2. Minutes
    Meetings of September 16, 2014, November 18, 2014 and December 2, 2014
  3. Acceptance of 2015 CCDRC Meeting Schedule
  4. Parcel 15: Francis Street Parcels
    Presentation of a proposed parking facility on the site.
  5. Adjournment

My understanding is that the State is still insisting they are not beholden to the Capital Center Commission and can do whatever-the-fuck they want (State of Rhode Island to Providence: “Drop dead”) and this meeting is just a courtesy to show the Commission what they are doing.

I also enjoy that the meeting is at 8am on a day after a holiday so no members of the public will be inclined to show up.

This is basically a done deal as far as the State is concerned, the Commission could I suppose rule that this is unacceptable and deny it, but the State says the Commission has no power over them. The Commission, through the City, would have to sue to prove they do have the power. The previous City administration was unwilling to do that.

If one wanted to express one’s displeasure about this, one should probably contact the new State administration. The new Director of the Department of Administration is Michael DiBiase, the phone number there is: (401) 222-2000. Governor Raimondo’s office can be reached through an online contact form or (401) 222-2080. Your comments would be in reference to Capital Center Parcel 15.

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WPRI: Raimondo proposes more RI infrastructure spending

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.

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