Spirit and resilience of heavy and highway industry honored at CIRI Fall Dinner Meeting.
Governor Dan McKee and RIDOT Director Alviti
were featured speakers at November 4 event.
In normal times, CIRI conducts biannual dinner meetings for its members to learn the latest about the state of the RI heavy and highway construction industry — and to get a lookahead at what’s in store for the upcoming six months. Our 2021 Fall Dinner Meeting at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick marked the long-awaited return of this event, the first since the pandemic caused the cancellation of the prior three meetings beginning in the spring of 2020.
The speaking program began with a welcome/introduction by Steve Cardi, outgoing CIRI president, who touched briefly on a few topics. These included the announcement of Mike D’Ambra as incoming president for a four-year term, a formal welcome to the newest member companies — along with various initiatives and sponsorships including safety training and a holiday food drive for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. The event’s featured speakers were:
Governor of Rhode Island
While crediting the previous Raimondo administration for designating the construction trades as “essential workers” from the outset, Governor McKee began his address to the CIRI membership by honoring their continuous service to the state throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You were all there during the pandemic and your workers did not retreat. For that long uncertain year, they were out there in the field,” said McKee, “which was a really important thing for the state of Rhode Island.”
The Governor also extended kudos to CIRI for the Question 4 bond referendum campaign, leading up to the March 2 special election, which helped to get passage of the $71M Transportation Infrastructure State Match with over 80% voter approval. This authorized the state to borrow $71 million to finance the Transportation Infrastructure State Match — which in turn enabled Rhode Island to obtain an additional $287 million in federal matching funds to make up for severe RI gas tax shortfalls caused by the pandemic.
“We did not miss a beat due to COVID,” said McKee, “moving into 2022 with a great record of success. The RI economy is ranked by Moody’s as the second fastest recovering economy in the entire country.”
The Governor also provided a glimpse at other non-construction initiatives underway, including efforts to increase airline activity coming into the state, and to improve RI’s ranking for friendliness to small business. He stressed the desire to respond to the multiple opportunities that directly affect our economy.
“Your work is a big part of that,” McKee concluded. “We want to make sure dialogue happens between our Governor’s Office and the business community. So please take advantage of that.”
Peter Alviti, Jr. P.E.
Director Alviti of RIDOT also began by thanking CIRI and its members for their dedication and hard work despite the pandemic-related challenges since early 2020. This included the sheer amount of work that is getting done while executing the RhodeWorks 10-year plan, along with the aforementioned Question 4 advocacy effort. Alviti then provided a synopsis of the RhodeWorks progress as it entered its sixth year.
“So far, we have overseen 254 projects together. 186 of them are already complete.” said Alviti. “We’ve pumped $2.8 billion into Rhode Island’s economy. And we’ve created thousands of good paying jobs in the process. Not only in construction, but in design work, consulting, materials, manufacturing — and all the other support industries.”
Director Alviti then spoke to Governor McKee’s intent to continue the momentum and trajectory of this effort to advance the state of our infrastructure and transportation assets.
“I’m really grateful to have a governor who understands the value of the work you all do in building our economy — and also what that means in terms of attracting businesses and allowing them to flourish here in Rhode Island.”
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