Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition urges voters to REJECT Question 4
Question 4: $72 million for transportation infrastructure, to match federal funds for ports, highways, roads and bridges
The RI Bike Board is highly skeptical of RIDOT and its claims. The agency has earned our skepticism by its actions over the years in many ways.
Bond fund shenanigans: Most recently RIDOT has announced plans to misuse funds earmarked for transit improvements. Additionally, many will remember our fight over Major Amendment 11 where RIDOT attempted to reallocate green economy bond funds to highway and bridge projects as well as the subsequent successful Major Amendment 19 to achieve the very same thing. Highways are expanding while promised active transportation projects are languishing, even as the majority of voters think they are voting for green improvements.
Lack of a public process: Again, RIDOT has shown time and time again that it does not care what the public wants or thinks about projects. The fight over Kennedy Plaza is just the latest example. RIDOT Roundtables with key stakeholders have been eliminated, public outreach meetings that are held have been designed to eliminate open discussion. The 6-10 boulevard project that would have cost less and revitalized a neighborhood was rejected out of hand. Public comments and concerns do not make much of an impact on the eventual design of projects–cross reference the East Providence side of the Henderson Bridge. Furthermore, public tracking of RIDOT spending on bike/ped projects is punishingly difficult. Where is the list?
Important projects are pushed out or simply do not get included in the STIP: Although the East Bay Bike Path bridges are vital, RIDOT is in no rush to fund or fix them, subjecting bicyclists to a dangerous detour. Another project, the Trestle Trail would be a wonderful connection across the Connecticut border and provide a fantastic regional connection. It was dropped off the STIP with no indication when it might be reconsidered.
All of this with a shocking lack of concern for transportation justice or the environmental impacts on vulnerable communities. We say disregard what RIDOT says and examine what it has done and continues to do. It is a no-confidence vote. We may not win the day, but sometimes it is important to stand up for what is right.