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.
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