This morning Gov. Lincoln Chafee and a few members of the Rhode Island delegation toured a bridge project in Narragansett. The tour showcased important infrastructure repairs the state may have to delay.
The Great Island Bridge is the only connection between the Port of Galilee in Narragansett and Great Island. It’s also an important part of the community’s emergency evacuation route.
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has classified the bridge as functionally obsolete. The agency pays for the majority of such highway infrastructure projects with federal money. And it may have to delay bridge repairs for this and other projects, because of a shortfall in federal funding for critical road and bridge repairs. The Highway Trust Fund has several sources of funding, including gas taxes and money directly from Congress.
In Rhode Island, about a third of bridges are deemed obsolete. The federal government may not be able to fully reimburse Rhode Island and other states for transportation projects beginning August 1st. During a visit to the Ocean State, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said states will see an average 28 percent drop in their funding.