Tom Warne Report, 17 December 2013
PROVIDENCE – A $1-million project to improve streetscape in Newport is at the top of a list of projects that local officials are hoping will be paid for by a new state loan fund designed to repair municipally owned roads and bridges.
The priority list of projects which the state Department of Transportation is seeking financing for was released last week. Twenty-three projects worth a total of $29.7 million on the list will contend for $7 million in available funding for the budget year that began July 1.
The new fund for municipal road and bridgerojects was initially proposed by House Speaker Gordon D. Fox, D-Providence, and state General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, and pulls funding from the annual state budget.
A panel of state officials evaluated and ranked projects based on economic benefits, readiness to break ground, cost-efficiency and whether they will boost safety. The road and bridge fund will dedicate a maximum of $20 million in annual loans, and will not allow more than 50 percent of available funds go to any single municipality.
I included this story because I know states are struggling to do all that is expected of them, with diminishing funds. Here we have a state who is “loaning” funds to improve streetscapes of local municipal roads. I have no idea how the program works, but, it is an interesting concept and obviously the municipalities are interested. JN