At our annual Fall Dinner Meeting at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, CIRI members were presented with a big-picture review of what transpired during the 2018 construction season in Rhode Island — along with a general lookahead for 2019.
The speaking program began with a welcome/introduction by Steve Cardi, CIRI president, who touched briefly on a few topics. These ranged from RIDOT’s new procurement software system, to new regulations for traffic control flaggers, to the need to negotiate for more realistic DBE percentages on projects. The event’s featured speakers were:
Senator Domenick J. Ruggerio
RI Senate President
The senior member of the RI Senate, Senator Ruggerio is also a retired administrator for the New England Laborers’ Labor-Management Cooperation Trust. A jobsite laborer in his early years, Ruggerio remarked on the substantial improvements already made on Rhode Island’s roads and bridges via the RhodeWorks program within a relatively short period of time. Ruggerio also commented on legislation he helped to champion for the reduction of the RI top marginal tax rate.
“I think we’ve made RI a little more competitive in the business aspect,” Ruggerio said. “We haven’t seen anything like this in 40 years. Unemployment, which was up to 11% (during the recession), is down to less than 4%.”
Peter Alviti, Jr. P.E.
Director Alviti of RIDOT presented a big-picture summation of the RhodeWorks program achievements, while thanking CIRI and its member companies for being energized, effective and quality-focused partners from the outset.
“In the first three years of RhodeWorks, we’ve accomplished exactly what was planned,” said Alviti. “We have over 100 projects on the street right now valued at about $900 million. The rest of the 10-year plan is intact. And we’re taking the opportunity to use the relationships, coalitions and teams created over the last three years to bring RhodeWorks to another level. We want to create a new transportation system that is world-class, not settle for a transportation system that is just “in good repair.”
Alviti also expressed admiration for the supportive efforts of Senator Ruggerio, the previous speaker, who helped to spearhead the original RhodeWorks legislation as then Senate Majority Leader. “It took a lot of political capital and courage to do the right thing, Alviti said. “The data showed it, the bridges needed it, and the people of Rhode Island deserved it. That kind of courage is rare.”
To view the most up-to-date infrastructure plans and news, visit the RhodeWorks section of the RIDOT website at: www.dot.ri.gov/rhodeworks