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Letter: Article 21 in the 2015 State Budget will benefit Wickford

"Improving access to our area via alternative modes of transportation is key to improving Wickford's vitality," Ellen Waxman writes.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

On June 12th, the Rhode Island House of Representatives will vote on the 2015 State Budget.  Included in the budget is Article 21, legislation relating to transportation. It primarily looks to eliminate the tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge and to create a Transportation Infrastructure Fund. It also includes two elements which have the potential to directly benefit Wickford; 1. to allocate funds to RIPTA for operating expenditures and, 2. to allocate funds to RIDOT to eliminate structural deficiencies of the state's bridges, road and maintenance systems and infrastructure. House Speaker Nicholas Matiello stated last Thursday "... this fund will allow for better infrastructure across the state and it will be a flexible fund... RIDOT will be able to spend the monies as they need."  

Improving access to our area via alternative modes of transportation is key to improving Wickford's vitality. Allocating funds to RIPTA increases the potential for a Wickford shuttle or trolley to connect Wickford Village to Wickford Junction, Quonset, and to points beyond. Allocating funds to RIDOT will enhance the potential for the completion of Phase One of the 2014 State Rail Plan which specifies that "additional service is under consideration to fill in the gaps." Currently there is no weekend rail service from Boston to Wickford and there are gaps in service during the weekdays. Rail service from Boston to Wickford is an underutilized asset that could and should be leveraged to stimulate tourism and revitalize not only our local economy, but that of all the cities and towns along the Commuter Rail to Boston.

Senator Lou DiPalma, a sponsor for this legislation states:  "We’re establishing a long-term strategy to addressing a long-term challenge: RI’s Transportation Infrastructure, including our state’s roads and bridges and mass transit." Mass transit includes rail, and this legislation is extremely relevant to Wickford as we strive to bring weekend rail service to Wickford Junction.

Your action is needed immediately! Please urge your district representatives and any state legislators you may know, to VOTE YES FOR ARTICLE 21 in the 2015 Rhode Island State Budget. Call or email your legislators today using the contact information found below. 

Sincerely, Ellen Waxman

Relevant links:

Rhode Island State Representatives

http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/representatives/default.aspx

Rhode Island State Senators

http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/senators/default.aspx

Article 21 in the 2014 Rhode Island State Budget

http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText14/HouseText14/Article-021-SUB-A.pdf

Rhode Island State Rail Plan 2014

http://www.planning.ri.gov/documents/trans/Rail/RI_State_Rail_Plan_2014.pdf

The Wickford Inbox - to follow this legislation and other local issues

https://www.facebook.com/groups/wickfordinbox/

Jeff Crawford June 10, 2014 at 07:21 AM
Yes, a shuttle between Wickford Junction and Wickford Village is just what we need on Ten Rod Road on a Saturday. The people will be lining up by the hundreds to spend their money in Wickford Village rather than Walmart or Staples...Are you for real? You are going to see commuter rail going to Kingston Station before there is money spent on a shuttle to Wickford village. Why should State Taxpayers use State money to benefit the village shops and stores? How about getting them to spend their money to replace the old bridge with a new structure rather than cosmetically fixing the old one at Twice the cost..
CompassCarrier June 10, 2014 at 08:36 AM
I guess I'm missing the point here....who is going to be taking a shuttle into Wickford???? And I don't see why people who live in Boston..which has plenty of shops and water.....would take the train to North Kingstown ("Wickford Junction"...give me a break....) so they can go to Wickford with it's handleful of shops and EXTREMELY limited dining/drinking options.
Tricia Erin June 10, 2014 at 10:44 AM
Some enjoy a small town experience. Strolling outside, personalized service, supporting small business America, etc...The point is to be able to continue to provide a "nice day" experience in Wickford and sewers and transportation will enable more possibilities in a positive way.
Nkr June 10, 2014 at 09:32 AM
Wickford has nothing to offer!! If anything people will travel to Newport. Wickford = Boring!
NK Parent June 10, 2014 at 09:50 AM
I was just talking to someone who had recently visited Wickford for the first time after seeing that it had won that award. They were not impressed. The best adjectives they could come up with were "weird" and "awkward." They seemed really put off by the lack of cafes and diversity of shops. Hopefully the sewers can help this problem.

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