RIDOT puts Providence transit hub plans on hold

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Back in 2014, Rhode Island voters gave the state approval to borrow $35 million to relocate its central bus hub in Providence and combine it with the city’s train station.

Now, more than two years later, Eyewitness News has learned officials are pushing the reset button on the project.

After months of receiving plans from developers, the director of the state Department of Transportation says they now have a better idea of what they want from the intermodal hub, including how the bus movement would be configured.

“All of these things came into better focus for us,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said Tuesday. “We’re using the model many other states use.”

Gov. Gina Raimondo was pushing to speed the process up after a few incidents in the area of Kennedy Plaza. But Alviti says he now has big plans for the hub, hoping to work with a private developer to turn it into a skyscraper with offices, apartments, or retailers.

“Transit attracts people,” he said. “And people will avail themselves to retail in the area where they’re waiting.”

The state is currently conducting a study of office space, according to Alviti, and some state employees could move into the new building as a result.

Once that study is complete, Alviti said they’ll solicit developers for their new ideas to go along with the plans from RIDOT and RIPTA. He said they hope to select a developer by the end of the year and break ground on the project next year.

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