Gina Raimondo

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Gov. Gina Raimondo has harped on creating new manufacturing jobs in Rhode Island since she began running for the governorship in 2014. But since moving into the 2nd floor Statehouse office on Smith Hill, the first-term Democrat changed her tune a bit, especially when it comes to recruiting high-tech companies to come to the Ocean State.

This morning, Raimondo’s face was peering out from the first business page of the Boston Globe. Her message was a distinctly different approach from her emphasis on manufacturing for the Ocean State business crowd.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A common concern for opponents of Governor Raimondo's truck toll plan is the fear that the tolls could be extended in the future from trucks to cars. Raimondo and legislative leaders say that's unlikely to happen.

Raimondo's office said the governor's original toll plan included a ban on tolling cars. That plan was passed by the state Senate last June, but the measure died after not being taken up in the House.

The General Assembly is back, and the political year kicks into gear. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Elizabeth Roberts, secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, joins Bonus Q&A to discuss efforts to improve agencies under her watch; the growing cost of the UHIP IT project, and other issues.

RIPR

Elizabeth Roberts, secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the Raimondo administration's attempt to cut Medicaid spending and improve the troubled state Department of Children, Youth and Familes, as well as the outlook on the governor's truck-toll plan.

Republican John Pagliarini -- the winner of Tuesday's special election in state Senate District 11 -- and Democratic rival Jim Seveney say opposition to Governor Gina Raimondo's truck-toll proposal was a significant factor in the race.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Governor's office has has released the preliminary locations of 14 toll gantries. The gantries are part of Governor Raimondo's $1.1 billion infrastructure repair plan, known as Rhode Works, introduced last spring.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

As expected, Governor Raimondo's controversial truck toll proposal quickly emerged as a hot topic on the first day of the 2016 General Assembly session. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said he expects a revised version of the governor's plan to emerge in a week or two, although it might take longer, and that he anticipates passage early in the session. 

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The General Assembly opens its new session Tuesday. Governor Raimondo’s plan to use truck tolls to pay for bridge improvements will be among the top issues during the legislative session.

Opponents of truck tolls plan to stage a 3 pm rally at the State House this afternoon. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The 2016 Rhode Island General Assembly session kicks off tomorrow. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has a preview of what to expect and some New Year's resolutions to suggest to the returning lawmakers.

As predictable as a winter chill, lawmakers throng Smith Hill tomorrow for the new  year. There will be the usual mélange of grandstanding,  pomposity and first-day-of- school style greetings.

Happy New Year! Thanks for reading and listening to our work here at RIPR, and best wishes for 2016 -- a time, no doubt, when Rhode Island politics will remain the gift that keeps on giving. As usual, you can share your tips and thoughts via email, and follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

RIPR file photo

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello wants to implement a truck-toll plan that does not rely on bonding, or that would have a much smaller amount of borrowing. As lawmakers prepare to return to the State House next week, Mattiello’s spokesman says the speaker considers this possible due to a recent infusion of federal transportation money.

Critics call the borrowing in Raimondo’s "RhodeWorks" plan too costly. The governor says the borrowing is necessary to reverse the decline of the state’s bridges.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

State Rep. Patricia Morgan (R-West Warwick) said Tuesday that Governor Gina Raimondo is not being forthcoming enough about her truck toll plan, although a Raimondo spokeswoman reiterated that preliminary locations for truck tolls will be identified at a later date.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello sat down in his State House office last week to discuss his priorities for 2016 and his year as speaker.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said he supports the basic premise of Governor Raimondo’s plan to pay for bridge improvements through truck tolls, during his wide-ranging end-of-year interview with Rhode Island Public Radio.

The governor’s infrastructure plan died in the 2015 legislative session when it did not get a vote in the House.

There's just one week until Christmas, so I want to wish a very happy holiday season to my readers, and offer my thanks for stopping by in 2015. (Program note: TGIF is taking next week off and will return December 31.) As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

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