Transportation bond issue on Rhode Island's November ballot

| Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Voters in Rhode Island will decide in about two weeks whether to allow the state to use $88.5 million in bonds for a variety of transportation projects throughout the state.

Inflation and other expenses would bring the total price tag for borrowing the money during the next 20 years to $154 million.

Question 5 on the ballot would authorize a variety of transportation work to be done through the bond issue. Roads and bridges would be in line to get $80 million. Commuter rail would claim $7 million while $1.5 million would be used to buy new buses or rehabilitate buses in the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority fleet.

Officials with the state Department of Transportation said the bulk of the money would be used to match $394 million in federal transportation funds during the next two fiscal years. Roads and bridges would get $360 million of federal aid while commuter rail would claim $28 million and RIPTA would get $6 million.

The federal government covers about 80 percent of most major highway projects, with the remaining 20 percent the responsibility of the state.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7. Polls are open in the state at 7 a.m. EST. Polls close at various times.

Voters in the state who don't want to wait until then to cast their ballots can vote by mail. Visit http://www.elections.ri.gov/mailvote.htm for more information.

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