The quality, accessibility and, affordability of Rhode Island’s transit and transportation systems determine in large part how productive its residents and businesses can be. But transportation, including bicycling, provides so much more than just a person’s ability to be productive; it connects us to our community, it allows seniors to live independently, helps us get to work and to school safely and efficiently, and helps us better access all the wonderful things the Ocean State has to offer. Bicycling must be part of our economic, health and transportation policies.
Investing in infrastructure projects, including bike paths, not only increases the economic potential of the state, but also increases social well-being and improves quality of life for all. Infrastructure maintenance, repair and construction creates jobs and supports the growth of a skilled workforce. It is time that Rhode Island put people back to work by improving the quality of the infrastructure that connects and protects us all, and ensure this critical infrastructure is resilient to the challenges of climate change.
As Governor, I propose to include $100 million bond referendum questions in the FY 2017 and FY 2019 budget to support a $200 million Rhode Island Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Replacement Program. This Program will provide capital funding for roads, bridges, and highways but also transit, bike paths, ports and rails. If approved by the voters, this Program will set the State on a path to having one of the highest quality and well-maintained infrastructure networks in the country.
As Governor, I will will also encourage healthier community design that promotes physical exercise in our neighborhoods and our workplaces. The health of an individual is significantly influenced by the environment in which a person lives and works. The framework for healthcare in the Ocean State must incorporate these and other opportunities in order to achieve better health, better care, and lower cost. Bicycling is a major part of community health and activity and Healthy community design includes efforts such as the Complete Streets program that I support and other community planning efforts underway to incorporate more bicycle friendly infrastructure.