Potential merger of RI’s transportation agencies raising eyebrows of employees, riders

Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As the state considers combining its three transportation agencies, those who work for them or regularly use public transport are expressing concerns over the plan.

The proposal involves merging the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) with the Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) and the Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA).

At this time, no legislation has been introduced that would make the merger official, though the idea is raising some eyebrows from transit workers and riders.

“I think RIDOT has done nothing but break the trust of people who use transportation outside of cars,” one rider said.

“The transit will really suffer,” another added.

RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said the concerns, which include higher costs and lack of public input and transparency, are nothing the state agency can’t handle.

“There is nothing in the concerns we heard that is not addressed in our analysis looking forward,” he said.

If the three agencies combine into one large agency, it will lead to an increase in federal funding, according to Alviti, which he said would allow the state to make improvements to public transit.

“We can bring the resources necessary to implement a much more robust implementation of transit in the state,” he said.

Alviti said RIDOT’s master plan includes bus electrification as well as dedicated bus lanes.

“That will make transit between these outlying communities and the city of Providence faster, better and cheaper,” he explained.

Alviti said the success of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s RhodeWorks initiative is a perfect example of how restructuring would make the agencies more efficient.

Eyewitness News reached out to RIPTA for a response to Alviti’s comments but has yet to hear back.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Providence

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