Transportation bond issue OK'd in Rhode Island

| Monday, November 13, 2006

Voters in Rhode Island approved a ballot question last week allowing the state to issue $88.5 million in bonds for transportation projects throughout the state.

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

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

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

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