RIDOT pegs cost of RhodeWorks push at $850K

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The R.I. Department of Transportation has asked lawmakers to add $850,000 to its current budget to cover spending that helped Gov. Gina Raimondo craft and enact her newly approved RhodeWorks bridge-repair plan.

The request is part of the Raimondo administration’s list of proposed alterations to the current 2015-16 state budget, which is now pending before lawmakers. Legislative fiscal experts said the $850,000 would come from gas tax revenue.

RIDOT spokesman Charles St. Martin said the $850,000 was spent with three companies: $450,000 with the law firm Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP, which provided legal guidance in drafting the law and its truck-toll provisions; $300,000 with the engineering firm CDM Smith Inc. for consulting services; and $100,000 with the PR firm RDW Group for public relations, including design of the RhodeWorks logo.

RhodeWorks is a $4.7-billion, 10-year plan for infrastructure repairs that includes a new toll on commercial trucks to help offset the cost of repairing bridges. Raimondo signed the plan into law last week.

The governor’s proposed budget changes also include $350,000 for a study on restructuring RIDOT’s management and operations. But St. Martin said the agency has no plans to proceed with commissioning that report at this time.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He hosts Executive Suite and writes The Saturday Morning Post. Follow him on Twitter: @tednesi

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