One effort halfway through the Rhode Island statehouse would tap up to $200 million in new borrowing for five bridges on a viaduct in the Providence area.
The Senate voted to advance legislation to get work underway on the viaduct that carries Interstate 95 north through the capital city. S633 now moves to the House.
Sponsored by Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, D-Providence, the legislation would authorize the state to issue $200 million in bonds to be repaid using federal transportation funding. Grant anticipation revenue vehicle bonds, or GARVEE bonds, allow states to borrow against their future federal highway allocations. This allows the state to get money needed upfront.
“The Providence viaduct is one of the busiest, most congested sections of highway in all of Rhode Island,” Goodwin said in prepared remarks. “And it’s a structure that is both outdated and structurally deficient.”
She said replacing it sooner rather than allowing it to continue to deteriorate would be best for the area, and state.
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation requested the borrowing authority after project costs more than doubled from $120 million to $250 million. During a recent hearing, RIDOT Director Peter Alviti attributed the increase to plans for alleviating traffic and safety problems with the current configuration.
The project could begin as early as next year. Construction is estimated to last five years.
S633 awaits further consideration in the House Judiciary Committee.
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