Economy
8:53 am
Wed March 16, 2011

Chafee unveils plan to fund transportation projects

Providence, RI – Governor Lincoln Chafee used the backdrop of the Pawtucket River Bridge on Interstate 95 Tuesday to make the case for the transit funding plan in his budget.

Chafee wants to steer $12 million from the state general fund for each of the next five years to fund transit improvements. He says creating this regular funding source would allow the state to avoid borrowing and paying interest for costly improvements.

As an example, Chafee points to the almost 90 million dollar cost of replacing the 53-year-old Pawtucket River Bridge. "I do not like paying interest, and I don't like replacing bridges for lack of maintenance," Chafee says. "That is bad! Every taxpayer knows that."

State officials say Rhode Island will spend almost $44 million to service its debt this year. They say that number will grow to $70 million each year if borrowing continues at its current rate.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@wrni.org.