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2014 Rhode Island Statewide Ballot Questions

election-2014

The Rhode Island Secretary of State’s Office has released the 2014 Voter Information Handbook . Below is the information about the seven statewide ballot questions which will appear on your November 4th ballot. There’s a lot of reading here to do before you head to the polls.


Question 1 – State Constitutional Approval

Approval of an Act authorizing state-operated casino gaming at Newport Grand in the city of Newport

(Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution)

Shall an act be approved which would authorize the facility known as “Newport Grand” in the city of Newport to add state-operated casino gaming, such as table games, to the types of gambling it offers only and exclusively at the facility located at 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road, Newport?

Explanation for Question 1

State Constitutional Approval
(Approval of an act authorizing state-operated casino gaming at Newport Grand in the city of Newport)

Purpose and Explanation: What would approval of this question do?

In order to reduce the potential adverse effects on State revenues from competition that may come from casino gaming facilities authorized in Southeast Massachusetts, the General Assembly has adopted Chapter 436 of the Public Laws of 2014 to amend Chapter 61.2 of Title 42 of the Rhode Island General Laws entitled “Video Lottery Terminal”. The amendment to Chapter 61.2 of Title 42 of the Rhode Island General Laws authorizes the licensed video lottery terminal retailer known as “Newport Grand” to engage in state-operated casino gaming at its facility located at 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road in the City of Newport; provided, however, that such act for the expansion of gambling at the facility of Newport Grand shall take effect only if:

(i) this referendum question to approve the act authorizing such expansion of gambling at the facility of Newport Grand, which is being submitted for approval by the electors of the State and the City of Newport in accordance with the requirements of Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution at the general election to be held in November 2014, is approved by both a majority of the electors of the State and a majority of the electors of the City of Newport voting in the referendum; and

(ii) the proposed amendment to Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution that is set forth as Question 2 in the statewide referendum to be voted upon in the general election to be held in November 2014 is approved by a majority of the electors of the State voting in the referendum.

Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution provides that no act expanding the types of gambling permitted within any city or town in the State of Rhode Island shall take effect until it has been approved by a majority of those electors voting in a statewide referendum and by the majority of those electors voting in a referendum in the municipality in which the proposed gambling would be allowed. The proposed amendment to Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution that is set forth as Question 2 in the statewide referendum to be voted upon in the general election to be held in November 2014 requires that prior to a change in location of gambling that has been permitted in any city or town by approval of a referendum in such city or town on or after November 4, 2014, there must be a referendum in such city or town and approval by the majority of those electors voting in the referendum on such proposed change in location in the city or town. For a further discussion of this proposed amendment to Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution, please review the “Explanation for Question 2” set forth in this Voter Information Handbook 2014.

Approval of the act authorizing Newport Grand to engage in state-operated casino gaming will result in Newport Grand being authorized to engage in state-operated casino gaming at its facility located at 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road in the City of Newport in accordance with the legislation adopted by the General Assembly. However, even if a majority of the electors of the State vote to approve such authorization for Newport Grand to engage in state-operated casino gaming at its facility located at 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road in the City of Newport, such authorization will not take effect unless: (a) a majority of the electors of the City of Newport voting also approve such referendum question; and (b) a majority of the electors of the State voting approve Question 2 in the statewide referendum being voted upon in the general election to be held in November 2014.

In connection with the general election in November 2012 and pursuant to Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution, referendum questions were presented to the electors statewide and the electors in the Town of Lincoln to authorize an act to allow the licensed video lottery terminal retailer known as “Twin River” to engage in casino gaming at its facility in the Town of Lincoln and referendum questions were presented to the electors statewide and in the City of Newport to authorize an act to allow the licensed video lottery terminal retailer known as “Newport Grand” to engage in casino gaming at its facility in the City of Newport. Although a majority of the electors of the State voting approved such referenda questions and a majority of the electors in the Town of Lincoln voting approved the referendum question with respect to Twin River, a majority of the electors in the City of Newport voting on the referendum question with respect to Newport Grand did not approve the question. As a result, the act to authorize the licensed video retailer known as “Twin River” to engage in casino gaming at its facility in the Town of Lincoln went into effect but the act to authorize the licensed video retailer known as “Newport Grand” to engage in casino gaming at its facility in the City of Newport did not go into effect. The conditions for the act now being considered to take effect that would authorize the license video retailer “Newport Grand” to engage in casino gaming at its facility in the City of Newport differ from the conditions for the prior act in 2012 to take effect in that this act is not only conditioned upon the satisfaction of the requirements of Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution but also a majority of the electors voting statewide having approved the amendment to Section 22 of Article VI provided for by Question 2 in the statewide referendum.

Chapter 61.2 of Title 42 of the Rhode Island General Laws, as amended, provides that the State of Rhode Island is authorized, subject to the restrictions of Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution, to operate, conduct and control casino gaming at Newport Grand to the extent Newport Grand is authorized to engage in casino gaming. It goes on to provide that the State of Rhode Island, through the Lottery Division and/or the Department of Business Regulation, shall have full operational control to operate the Newport Grand facility and the authority to make all decisions about all aspects of the functioning of the business enterprise, including, without limitation, the power and authority to:

(1) Determine the number, type, placement and arrangement of casino gaming games, tables and sites within the facility;
(2) Establish with respect to casino gaming one or more systems for linking, tracking, deposit and reporting of receipts, audits, annual reports, prohibitive conduct and other such matters determined from time to time;
(3) Collect all receipts from casino gaming, require that Newport Grand collect casino gaming gross receipts in trust for the State of Rhode Island through the Lottery Division, deposit such receipts into an account or accounts of its choice, allocate such receipts according to law, and otherwise maintain custody and control over all casino gaming receipts and funds;
(4) Hold and exercise sufficient powers over Newport Grand’s accounting and finances to allow for adequate oversight and verification of the financial aspects of casino gaming at the facility;
(5) Monitor all casino gaming operations and have the power to terminate or suspend any casino gaming activities in the event of an integrity concern or other threat to the public trust;
(6) Define and limit the rules of play and odds of authorized casino gaming games, including, without limitation, the minimum and maximum wagers for each casino gaming game;
(7) Have approval rights over matters relating to the employment of individuals to be involved, directly or indirectly, with the operation of casino gaming at Newport Grand;
(8) Establish compulsive gambling treatment programs;
(9) Promulgate, or propose for promulgation, any legislative, interpretive and procedural rules necessary for the successful implementation, administration and enforcement of Chapter 61.2 of Title 42 of the Rhode Island General Laws; and
(10) Hold all other powers necessary and proper to fully effectively execute and administer the provisions of Chapter 61.2 of Title 42 of the Rhode Island General Laws for its purpose of allowing the State of Rhode Island to operate a casino gaming facility through a licensed video lottery retailer hosting said casino gaming on behalf of the State of Rhode Island.

In order to further protect State gaming revenues and maintain the competitiveness of Newport Grand and the State’s other gaming facility, Twin River, in 2012 the General Assembly adopted legislation called the Revenue Protection Act to address, among other things, the share of net table game revenues to be received by the State if casino gaming is approved, the share of video lottery terminal revenue to be received by the City of Newport going forward, incentive gaming programs to protect market share and mitigate the potential impact of casino gaming in Massachusetts, and a regulatory framework to ensure oversight of casino gaming by the Lottery Division.

The Revenue Protection Act, as amended by Chapter 436 of the Public Laws of 2014, establishes the State of Rhode Island’s share of net table game revenues from Newport Grand to be 18 per cent of such revenues, which is consistent with the State’s percentage share of net table game revenues received from Twin River. The State received for fiscal year 2013 approximately 61.67% of net terminal income from video lottery terminals at Newport Grand. The State’s percentage share of revenues from table games at Newport Grand is significantly less than the State’s percentage share of revenues from video lottery terminals because the operational expenses relating to table games to be paid by Newport Grand, LLC are substantially higher than the operational expenses relating to video lottery terminals.

The Revenue Protection Act, as amended by Chapter 436 of the Public Laws of 2014, does not change the share of net terminal income received by Newport Grand, LLC from video lottery terminals at Newport Grand but it does provide for a change in the share of net terminal income to the City of Newport. The Revenue Protection Act, as amended, provides that, effective as of July 1, 2015, provided that this referendum question is approved by a majority of the electors voting statewide and in the City of Newport, and provided that Question 2 is approved by a majority of the electors voting statewide, the City of Newport’s allocation of net terminal income from authorized video lottery terminals at the Newport Grand shall increase from one and one hundredth percent (1.01%) to one and forty-five hundredths percent (1.45%) of such net terminal income. Furthermore, if, in addition to this referendum question being approved by a majority of the electors voting statewide and in the City of Newport and Question 2 being approved by a majority of the electors voting statewide, (i) Newport Grand, LLC or its successor has made an investment of no less than forty million dollars ($40,000,000) exclusive of acquisition costs within three (3) years, (ii) a certificate of completion and final approval from the city building inspector has been issued for the facility upgraded through this investment, (iii) the number of video lottery terminals in operation is no fewer than those in operation as of January 1, 2014 and (iv) table gaming has commenced in Newport, then the City of Newport’s allocation of net terminal income of authorized video lottery terminals at Newport Grand shall be the greater of one million dollars ($1,000,000) or one and forty-five hundredths percent (1.45%) of such net terminal income, except that for six (6) consecutive full fiscal years immediately thereafter, the allocation shall be the greater of one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) or one and forty-five hundredths percent (1.45%) of net terminal income of authorized video lottery terminals at Newport Grand. Such minimum distribution shall be distributed in twelve (12) equal payments during the fiscal year.

To review the provisions of the Revenue Protection Act in their entirety and their effect as it relates to table games and video lottery terminals at Newport Grand should this referendum question be approved by a majority of the electors voting statewide and in the City of Newport and should Question 2 be approved by a majority of the electors voting statewide, we refer you to the legislation enacted under Chapter 436 of the Public Laws of 2014 and Chapters 289 and 290 of the Public Laws of 2012.

A vote to “Approve” this question means you wish to approve the act authorizing Newport Grand to add state- operated casino gaming, such as table games, to the types of gambling it offers only and exclusively at its facility located at 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road in the City of Newport in accordance with the provisions of such act.

A vote to “Reject” this question means you do not approve the act authorizing Newport Grand to add state- operated casino gaming, such as table games, to the types of gaming it offers only and exclusively at its facility located at 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road in the City of Newport in accordance with the provisions of such act.

How much money will be borrowed?
The referendum would not authorize any borrowing.


Question 2 – Amendment to the Constitution of the State

Restriction on Gambling

(Section 1 of Article XIV of the Constitution)

Approval of the amendment to Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution set forth below will provide that no change in the location of gambling permitted in a municipality would occur without the further approval of the majority of those electors voting on said proposed location change in a referendum within said municipality:

Full text of amendment for Question 2:

Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution shall be amended to read as follows:

Section 22. Restriction on gambling.

No act expanding the types or locations of gambling which are permitted within the state or within any city or town therein or expanding municipalities in which a particular form of gambling is authorized shall take effect until it has been approved by the majority of those electors voting in a statewide referendum and by the majority of those electors voting in said referendum in the municipality in which the proposed gambling would be allowed and, having been so approved in said referendum in any city or town on or after November 4, 2014, the location where the gambling is permitted in any city or town shall not be changed within said city or town without the approval of the majority of those electors voting on said proposed change in a referendum in said city or town.

The secretary of state shall certify the results of the statewide referendum and the local board of canvassers of the city or town where the gambling is to be allowed shall certify the results of the local referendum to the secretary of state.

Explanation for Question 2

Amendment to the Constitution of the State
(Restriction on Gambling)

Purpose and Explanation: What would approval of this question do?

In 1994 the Constitution of Rhode Island was amended to add Section 22 of Article VI to provide that no act expanding the types of gambling permitted within the State or within any city or town therein or expanding the municipalities in which a particular form of gambling is authorized can take effect until it has been approved by a majority of statewide electors voting in a statewide referendum and by the majority of those electors voting in a referendum in the municipality where the proposed gambling would be allowed.

The General Assembly has proposed by joint resolution an amendment to Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution in accordance with the provisions of Section 1 of Article XIV of the Constitution for approval by the State’s electors. If approved, the proposed amendment to the Constitution referenced below will have the effect of providing that no change in the location of gambling permitted in a municipality would occur without the further approval of the majority of those electors voting on said proposed location change in a referendum within said municipality.

Section 22 of Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution shall be amended to read as follows:

Section 22. Restriction on gambling.
No act expanding the types or locations of gambling which are permitted within the state or within any city or town therein or expanding municipalities in which a particular form of gambling is authorized shall take effect until it has been approved by the majority of those electors voting in a statewide referendum and by the majority of those electors voting in a said referendum in the municipality in which the proposed gambling would be allowed and, having been so approved in said referendum in any city or town on or after November 4, 2014, the location where the gambling is permitted in any city or town shall not be changed within said city or town without approval of the majority of those electors voting on said proposed change in a referendum in said city or town.

The secretary of state shall certify the results of the statewide referendum and the local board of canvassers of the city or town where the gambling is to be allowed shall certify the results of the local referendum to the secretary of state.

The words and phrases in the proposed amendment to the Constitution set forth above that have been crossed- out are words and phrases currently found in Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution that would be removed by the amendment. The words and phrases in the proposed amendment to the Constitution set forth above that have been underlined are words and phrases that are not currently found in Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution that would be added by the amendment.

The approval of the act authorizing the facility known as “Newport Grand” in the City of Newport to add state- operated casino gaming, such as table games, to the types of gambling offered as provided for by Question 1 in the statewide referendum can only take place if, in addition to approval of such Question 1 by a majority of those electors voting statewide and those electors voting in the City of Newport, a majority of those electors voting statewide also approve this Question 2 in the statewide referendum being voted upon in the general election to be held in November 2014.

A vote to “Approve” means that no change in location of gambling permitted in a city or town by approval of a referendum in such city or town on or after November 4, 2014 would occur without the further approval of the majority of those electors voting on said proposed location change in a referendum within said city or town.

A vote to “Reject” means that a change in location of gambling permitted in a city or town would occur without the further approval of the majority of those electors voting on said proposed location change in a referendum within said city or town.

How much money will be borrowed?
The referendum would not authorize any borrowing.


Question 3 – Constitutional Convention

(Section 2 of Article XIV of the Constitution)

Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the Constitution?

Explanation for Question 3

Constitutional Convention

Purpose and Explanation: What would approval of this question do?

The General Assembly has submitted the following question to the State’s electors:

Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the Constitution?
A Constitutional Convention is an assembly of delegates or representatives of the people of the State for the purpose of amending or revising the Rhode Island Constitution. A Constitutional Convention, if held, could propose an entirely new Constitution for adoption or rejection by the State’s electors; it could propose individual amendments to the Constitution; or it could re-write the basic document while presenting what appears to be the most controversial issues to the electors in the form of supplemental amendments, thus allowing individual decisions on each.

No amendment or revision to the Constitution agreed upon by a Constitutional Convention shall take effect until the amendments or revisions have been submitted to the electors of the State and approved by a majority of those electors voting.

In accordance with Section 2 of Article XIV of the Rhode Island Constitution, a bi-partisan preparatory commission has been created by the General Assembly to assemble information on constitutional questions
for the electors of the State. The preparatory commission made use of such sources and gathered information pertinent to the fulfillment of its charge as it deemed appropriate. The preparatory commission, after gathering information on particular issues that the State’s electors may consider, reported its findings to the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, and to the public, through the news media.

If a majority of the State’s electors vote to hold a Constitutional Convention, then it will be the responsibility of the 2015 General Assembly to enact legislation determining the method of election of delegates, setting forth an election schedule, and appropriating funds. The number of delegates shall be equal to the number of members of the House of Representatives and shall be apportioned in the same manner as the members of the House of Representatives. The parameters of a Constitutional Convention would be decided by the General Assembly and the elected delegates to the Convention. The last Constitutional Convention was held in 1986.

The actual cost to the taxpayers of conducting a Convention in 2016 is unknown. However, the bi-partisan preparatory commission for the proposed Constitutional Convention that met in July and August 2014, reported that the projected cost to the taxpayers of holding a Constitutional Convention in 2016 would be approximately Two and One-half Million Dollars, ($2.5M), after adjusting 1986 costs for inflation and in anticipation of numerous factors that could increase the cost of a convention to include the total number and location of convention meetings, the expense of hired experts, as well as the cost of a staff necessary to assist delegates in carrying out their duties.

A copy of the complete report issued by the bi-partisan preparatory commission presenting its findings, including information on issues that may be considered by the Constitutional Convention and the projected costs to taxpayers of holding a Constitutional Convention in 2016, may be viewed on the website of the Rhode Island General Assembly (www.rilin.state.ri.us) or a copy of the report may be obtained from the Rhode Island Library, State House Room 208, Providence, RI 02903.

This question has been proposed by the General Assembly of the State pursuant to Section 2 of Article XIV of the Rhode Island Constitution, which gives the General Assembly the right to submit to the electors at any election the question, “Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the Constitution?” If the General Assembly fails to submit the question to the electors of the State during any ten year period, then the Secretary of State shall submit it at the next general election following such period.

A vote to “Approve” means you would like to see a Constitutional Convention called to amend or revise the Constitution.

A vote to “Reject” means that you are opposed to a Constitutional Convention called to amend or revise the Constitution at this time.

How much money will be borrowed?
The referendum would not authorize any borrowing.

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Guest Post: A Trip to Newport; The Breakers Welcome Center

breakers

The Breakers in Newport

An anonymous reader is taking the readers of Greater City Providence to Newport and laying out the proposal set forth by the Preservation Society of Newport County to construct a permanent welcome center on the grounds of the landmark property, The Breakers.

The city of Newport has long been the center of tourism for Rhode Island and much of southern New England. Known for its sandy beaches, sailing, historic architecture spanning three centuries, superb dining, art galleries, and historic landmarks, the city by the sea has welcomed millions seeking to explore, learn, relax, and to enjoy themselves. Tourism is on the rise and museums are in the midst of creating world-class visitor centers meant to provide the proper introduction to an institute, property, or collection. In late August 2012, an article published by the Newport Daily News announced plans by the Preservation Society of Newport County to construct a 3700 sq ft ‘welcome center’ on the grounds of The Breakers. Plans were not yet finalized; however, the Preservation Society had announced that the architectural firm of Epstein-Joslin of Cambridge, MA had been chosen to design a structure that would fit into the historic grove and landscape of the organization’s flagship property.

The intent is to clear away unsightly and temporary structures that house a ticketing venue, seasonal portable toilets, and a vending machine and replace them with a permanent structure. The new structure will house restrooms, café, and ticketing venue.

As the flagship property, The Breakers receives roughly half of the visitor attendance that the Society will see annually and collectively in a collection of eleven historic properties. That equals to nearly 400,000 visitors out of 800,000 that will tour the great mansion built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II in 1893-1895. The Breakers is one of the top five most-visited house museums in America, among the notables: Biltmore, Monticello, and Mount Vernon. The Preservation Society is also one of the top four major cultural organizations in New England with the other three in Boston; the Museum of Science, the New England Aquarium, and the Museum of Fine Arts. Comparing to other institutions, the accommodations at The Breakers is subpar.

The proposal, as announced, sparked a wave of letters sent to the Newport Daily News, Newport This Week, and the Providence Journal. Most were against the proposal in various tones, fearing business would be lost at area establishments that are dependent on tourism traffic to the mansions on Bellevue Avenue, while others pointed at historic preservation and the thought of the fabric of the landscape being forever ruined. Whatever the case may be, there are many reasons to not build a visitor center period, especially on the grounds of the mansion.

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2012 Rhode Island statewide ballot questions

election-2012-newlogo

We ran down the list of 11 City of Providence ballot questions in a previous post, here are the statewide questions on the November 6th ballot.

Update: All statewide ballot questions passed however, voters in Newport rejected a casino at Newport Grand.
Find further details about each ballot question and information on how to vote in the Rhode Island Voter Information Handbook 2012

QUESTION 1:

1. STATE CONSTITUTIONAL APPROVAL
(APPROVAL OF AN ACT AUTHORIZING STATE-OPERATED CASINO GAMING AT TWIN RIVER IN THE TOWN OF LINCOLN)

(Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution)

Shall an act be approved which would authorize the facility known as “Twin River” in the town of Lincoln to add state-operated casino gaming, such as table games, to the types of gambling it offers?

APPROVE
REJECT


QUESTION 2:

2. STATE CONSTITUTIONAL APPROVAL
(APPROVAL OF AN ACT AUTHORIZING STATE-OPERATED CASINO GAMING AT NEWPORT GRAND IN THE CITY OF NEWPORT)

(Section 22 of Article VI of the Constitution)

Shall an act be approved which would authorize the facility known as “Newport Grand” in the city of Newport to add state-operated casino gaming, such as table games, to the types of gambling it offers?

APPROVE
REJECT

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News & Notes

Dallas Covers Highway with Greenery – Cities are increasingly decking highways with piles of greenery and new development. [Governing]

I’m looking at Route 10 at Olneyville, Route 95 from Broad to Atwells, Route 95 between Garden and George in Pawtucket, Route 95 next to the State House…

Parking Management That Actually Manages Parking [Bill Fulton, Mayor of Ventura Blog]

Some shoppers have complained over the past few months that parking at the mall is free, so why should they pay to park downtown? The answer — provided by Downtown Ventura Organization board chair Dave Armstrong — is that you’re paying for access to a few hundred premium spaces. And he’s right. After all, all the mall parking spaces are far away from the stores — farther than even the most remote free lot downtown. If it was possible to drive right inside the mall and park in front of your favorite store, don’t you think the mall would charge for that space? And don’t you think some people who think it’s worth it would pay the price? Obviously, the answer to both these questions is yes.

A Portland group pulverizes pavement to make way for green space [Grist]

Newport: Making Transportation Holistic [RI Future]

On September 15th, the Newport City Council passed a Complete Streets resolution, becoming the first municipality in Rhode Island to give equal consideration to all road users in its planning rather than giving primacy to automobiles. Redesigning our streets to be more inclusive of pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders will be a boon to our quality of life by improving the environment, the local economy, and our health.

Dearest Providence, why are we letting Newport take the lead on this? Step it up!

Nissan’s smug (?), cute (?), ironic (?) polar bear Leaf ad [Grist]

But let’s take a look at the claim that climate-endangered mammals will thank you for buying a Leaf — which goes on sale later this year for as low as $21,000 in California and Georgia, and slightly more in other states.

An electric car might be superior to the gas-burner you own now, except that it still takes plenty of embodied energy to produce a new car. If buying a Leaf earns you a bear hug, then hanging on to a reasonably efficient ride for a few extra years probably deserves one too.

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News & Notes

Preserving modernism in Boston: making the case [Boston.com]

Andrew Knee: Milwaukee – A Walker’s Paradise [UrbanOut]
“And the latest venture is a broad swath of land called the Park East, where a freeway was recently torn down and the street-grid was reassembled.”

Sound wall made of vegetation to be studied by ODOT as alternative to concrete wall [Cleveland.com]
I’m thinking of Route 195 in the Gano Street area.

London Opens Bike “Superhighways” [GOOD]

Worst. Intersection. Ever. [Car-Free in PVD]

Sen. Kerry docks yacht in R.I., saves on taxes [MSNBC]
Yes, the story has gone national. The Senator’s people claim the boat is in Newport for “for long-term maintenance, upkeep and charter purposes.” Whatever, I just like the headline telling rich people to come to Rhode Island for our low taxes. Bring your yachts and spend some money while your here.

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News & Notes

2 year closure of Union Avenue Bridge over Route 10 prompts free RIPTA service for pedestrians impacted by closure [ProJo]. With Route 18 only running 17 times on weekdays and not at all on Sundays and Holidays, I’m glad I don’t live on the farside of Union Avenue.

Four Projects to Watch (And Seven Others to Remember) [NewportNow]

Not About the Buildings Spelling Bee June 21st, AS220.

City panel to decide on rezoning Allens Avenue [PBN]

Topological crime maps of San Franscisco [Strange Maps]

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Reader Submissions: Shorpy.com


November 1912. Central Falls, Rhode Island. View of privies, garbage dumps, etc., in back yards near Bed-bug Alley and High Street. Photo and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine for the Child Welfare Exhibit of 1912-13. via: Shorpy.com

A reader sent me some links from a site I hadn’t heard of, Shorpy.com. Shorpy.com describes itself as, “History in HD is a vintage photography blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.”

All of the photos on the site are interesting, and there are some from Rhode Island. Though these are not your typical photos of a hazy glorified yesteryear. In fact, most of these photos highlight child labor in the mills of Rhode Island around the turn of the last century. Something that we don’t look back on very often.

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RIPTA Ferry, FINALLY!

newport_bridge

Barring some other crazy unforeseen circumstance, RIPTA’s Newport-Providence “water taxi” service is a go for tomorrow.

The service will feature 5 roundtrips per day between Providence Piers (180 Allens Avenue) and Perrotti Park in Newport. The 50 passenger water taxi is smaller than the ferry used for last year’s service. The water taxi does not have a snack bar or rest room facilities (so make sure you go before you go). Due to the loss of the federal subsidy, the fares will also increase to $28 roundtrip for adults.

Service will operate through October. Fare and schedule information at: RIPTA.

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You can haz RIPTA Ferry!

RIPTA Ferry

ProJo reports that we will have ferry service between Newport and Providence this summer after-all.

Dubbed the Providence-Newport Water Taxi on RIPTA’s website the service will use a smaller vessel than we’ve become used to. The 46-passenger catamaran will be operated by Ocean State Shipbuilding Inc. of Brooklyn, Connecticut (why Ocean State Shipbuilding is based in the Nutmeg State… I do not know). The company has no experience running a ferry service, but won the bid due to not requiring a state subsidy.

The smaller ferry (the prior ferry carried 149 passengers) will make the trip in the same amount of time, however it will only run 5 round trips per day from June to September (and drops to 3 trips per day through the end of the season in October).

Though the service is smaller, I am happy we’ve not lost it all together, and even more happy that a way has been found to run the ferry and not take money from RIPTA’s bus service (which would be a non-starter for me). Still, I can’t help to again point out how short sighted it was for us to be in this position. The ~$500,000 federal subsidy that made the ferry possible to begin with was always slated to end, it is disappointing that RIPTA had no plan on what to do when that eventuality finally came to pass.

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You can get there from here?

RIPTA Ferry

Could the Providence-Newport Ferry rise from the dead and return to service this summer? RIPTA is hoping to make it work. As the Journal reports, RIPTA has issued two RFPs. One asks ferry companies to bid for a no-subsidy service. Likely this would be fewer trips and a shorter season than we are used to. The other RFP asks ferry companies to quote what subsidy they would need to provide the previous level of service.

RIPTA announced last year that the ferry would not return this summer due to the end of a half million dollar federal subsidy. At the time I said it was rather short sited of RIPTA not to plan for the end of a subsidy that clearly had an end date. I also questioned how there could be absolutely no way to find a half million dollars to make up for the lost subsidy (of course this was before the economy ‘sploded).

I don’t know where RIPTA is hoping to find the funds for the subsidized RFP, but I hope they can make it work. The ferry was a vital piece of our tourist economy and it is madness for the Ocean State to not have a public ferry service utilizing Narragansett Bay.

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You can’t get there from here

RIPTA Ferry

Bad news, RIPTA’s Providence/Newport fast ferry service will end October 16, 2008, for good. RIPTA reports in their January 31st Destinations eNewsletter that the service will end do to the expiration of federal funds.

Federal Funding Made Ferry Possible

“We’re proud that we were able to secure federal funding for three consecutive three-year grant cycles, $575,000 annually for a total of $5,175,000.00,” said RIPTA General Manager Alfred J. Moscola in a recent letter to community leaders.

This funding came from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act/Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Program (CMAQ), allowing RIPTA to provide this service for almost a decade.

Under the terms of its federal funding, the ferry was to serve as a demonstration project whose purposes were to test, measure and determine the demand for water ferry transportation, help reduce the pollution caused by automobiles and encourage economic development. These terms will be fulfilled in 2008.

Service Helped Reduce Traffic Congestion and Air Pollution and Boost Economic Development

“We’ve been very pleased to see the positive reception with which RIPTA’s Providence/Newport ferry service has been greeted over the years by residents and tourists as well as by community leaders,” said Moscola.

“Ferry ridership increased every season and communities up and down the state’s coastline sought to have the ferry add stops in their towns. Pollution and traffic congestion were reduced as people chose to take the ferry rather than their cars over Narragansett Bay. And economic development was encouraged because the ferry helped strengthen tourism,” he explained.

“We were also proud to receive the Governor’s Tourism Award for Newport County in 2001, in large measure due to our Providence/Newport ferry service,” added Moscola.

“Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to renew our federal funding for the ferry service and without it there’s no way we can continue this terrific service,” says Moscola.

So this announcement seems rather abrupt and matter-of-fact. One has to wonder why there was no plan for the end of the demonstration period. The funding was to test, measure, and determine demand for water transportation, ridership was up year after year… OK, so it seems there is demand and 9 years should have given us plenty of time to measure it and figure out how to provide it. Indeed the state budget is in the toilet, but there is no way to come up with $575,000 to continue service? Did anyone even try? Is this again RIPTA using the media to lob a bomb at the Governor (that’s getting really boring)?

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