At our annual Spring Dinner Meeting at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, leaders of both chambers of the Rhode Island legislature spoke about the increased forward momentum created by RhodeWorks. Steve Cardi, our organization’s president, began the event with a report on the current efforts of the CIRI Board of Directors. Topics included collaboration with RIDOT on revisions to its Section 100 specifications, the new electronic bidding system for state projects, and the resolution of various issues with the RI Department of Labor. The event’s featured speakers were:
K. Joseph Shekarchi
RI House Majority Leader
The leader of the RI House of Representatives since November 2016, Joe Shekarchi described the collaborative synergy that created and continues to drive the RhodeWorks program.
“In creating RhodeWorks, we’ve created a revenue stream for the next 10 years that will be able to fund needed construction. And we don’t have to wait for Washington.”
Giving a shout-out to Senator Jack Reed. who obtained significant amounts of federal money to help structure RhodeWorks, Shekarchi also spoke to the fact that RIDOT now has 77 active projects with a construction value of $715 million. This includes the Routes 6/10 Connector project, a $410 million project now in its second year.
“While this is very good news for the industry, it’s much better news for our state economy,” Shekarchi said. “You are putting Rhode Islanders to work in well paying high-value, high benefit private sector jobs. While boosting our tax base and bringing dollars back into the state.
Michael J. McCaffrey
RI Senate Majority Leader
Mike McCaffrey, the RI Senate Majority Leader since March 2017, augmented the points made by Shekarchi with additional statistics and perspectives. Citing the unprecedented investments in Rhode Island and its infrastructure via RhodeWorks, McCaffrey credited CIRI and its membership for making it possible.
“You put nearly 4,000 people to work in the last couple of years,” McCaffrey said. “You’ve helped hard-working Rhode Islanders to provide for their children and lay a foundation for their family’s future. The jobs you create help the state’s small businesses — from companies up and down the supply chain to the family-owned sandwich shops near the jobsites.”
Statistics mentioned by McCaffrey included the historic $890 million that was allocated for 110 projects in 2018 — the long-needed reconstruction of the 6/10 Connector, which he called “the centerpiece of RhodeWorks” — and the RI Senate’s recent approval of a low-rate $200 million GARVEE loan to reconstruct the Route 95 viaduct.
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