More than a few Rhode Islanders, no doubt, have wondered why anybody thought putting the end of a rail line in Wickford was a good idea. North Kingstown’s a decent size for a suburb, but it’s dispersed and in a part of the state designed more around villages than whole towns. The site is out of the way for anybody traveling Route 95, and approaching by Route 4 from the south is a pain, with lights and traffic.
Now that the state is taking over management of the station, some of the pieces start to fit together. Here’s Patrick Anderson in the Providence Journal:
Making current RIDOT employees clean bathrooms, shovel snow, cut grass, make repairs and watch over the Wickford Junction station and parking garage will cost the state $112,200 each year, the agency said, instead of the $488,984 it was paying the owner of the surrounding shopping plaza. …
The Wickford Junction maintenance contract grew out of the public-private partnership with North Kingstown developer and station advocate Robert Cioe that saw it built on a corner of his shopping plaza.
So, the Dept. of Transportation and its contractors got some federal money for a nice big project a few years back, and a developer in North Kingstown got a drop-off point near his shopping plaza and a regular contract for maintenance. Yup, that sounds like the Rhode Island Way.