Fast-Track Plan Released as Minor Amendment #2
For $748 Million of Federal Infrastructure Investment Funds
The State of RI is making plans for the $748 million received from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill for transportation improvements. The federal bill, titled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), includes provisions addressing climate change by improving infrastructure resiliency and prioritizing carbon reduction.
On February 3, RIDOT and RI Statewide Planning issued a “Minor Amendment” to the 10-year State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) detailing the use of the $748 million: $550M in the first 4 years and the balance over the full 10 years.
The proposed amendment can be reviewed at www.planning.ri.gov. The summary of the distribution of the funding appears on the 11th page of the 487-page document – including 2.97% for Active Transportation Projects (ATP) which include bicycle infrastructure. The summary list of ATP projects appears on the 12th page of the pdf. Descriptions of these and all 152 project changes are included in the document.
The Amendment will be received and acted on by the state Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) on February 17th. No oral comment will be possible at that time. The TAC will be requested to act on the proposed Minor Amendment #2 at its public meeting scheduled for Thursday, February 17, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. The public can participate in the online TAC meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85336842260?pwd=UVRpSnBRWVJVNWQ0VEk1MVBhZGUrUT09 Password: 570944
According to Gov McKee and DOT Director Alviti, Rhode Island is fast-tracking the bulk of the funds for prioritized road and bridge projects. Other states (including MA and CT) are delaying amendments to determine how to optimize these funds to address carbon reduction as prioritized in the IIJA, and as the dictated by state laws which set mandatory, enforceable climate emissions reduction goals. Rhode Island set such mandates in the 2021 Act on Climate. Here is an excellent summary about the IIJA and carbon reduction in the context of this amendment by the RI Green Energy Consumers Alliance.
While public comment on the Amendment will not be possible at the 2/17 TAC meeting, it is simultaneously the opportunity for the public to comment in person on the state’s public engagement process – as part of the mandatory 4-year federal review of Statewide Planning and our MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization).