Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo unveiled a plan Monday to improve the state’s roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, touting her proposal as a way to bolster Rhode Island’s lackluster economy.
Raimondo toured an outdated bridge on the East Providence-Seekonk line to dramatize her call for improving Rhode Island’s infrastructure. “I wanted to show the contrast between the half of the bridge that’s in Massachusetts, which is well maintained, and the half of the bridge that’s in Rhode Island, which is poorly maintained and has been rated structurally deficient.”
Raimondo says putting more money into overhauling roads, bridges and school buildings will improve the state while also sparking its economy.
"We can’t have schools that are falling apart, roads that are falling apart, bridges that are falling apart, and we can’t the highest unemployment rate in the country," she says. "So we have to invest. The important thing is that we do it in a way that’s long-term, creative and strategic, so we can save money in the process."
Raimondo’s plan calls for creating a funding formula meant to keep roads and bridges from getting worn down; establishing a "green bank," to help communities, businesses, and homeowners retrofit their buildings and facilities with green technology; expanding the municipal road and bridge revolving fund she established last year with House Speaker Gordon Fox; and creating a school building authority that, she says, would stimulate construction and capital improvements in schools.
She says her ideas would be funded by reallocating existing tax dollars, while also tapping private sources.
Raimondo is among three major Democratic candidates for governor, along with Angel Taveras and Clay Pell.