Thanks, Mr. Vice President, But We Already Well Understood the Problem

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… our bridges are bad.

Before his speech, Biden got a close look at the notorious “Lincoln logs,” as he called them, holding up the McCormick Quarry Bridge over Warren Avenue, and described them as “shameful.”

The question is, how to pay for the repairs. A large part of the problem is that the “middle-class jobs” you and Governor Raimondo tout,

“Infrastructure is about a lot more than delivering people from Point A to Point B; it is about middle-class jobs,” Biden said. “Nobody is making minimum wage pouring concrete on a highway job. No one is making minimum wage surveying a new road. …

when funded by yet another government fee, tax or toll, simply come at the cost of other members of the middle class (and every other “class”). The middle class – and all Rhode Islanders on the economic spectrum – would be better off if the repairs came from more prudent budgeting – quite easy to do when the net money that will actually go into bridge repairs from the RhodeWorks toll plan, after bond interest and gantry costs, is only approximately $15 million/year, not the $45 million that RhodeWorks will cost us. Best of all, none of those “middle class” jobs go away just because they are funded more responsibly by the Governor and the General Assembly.

Speaking of the General Assembly, very interesting that neither the Rhode Island House Speaker nor the Senate President were present yesterday in East Providence as Vice President Biden was praising tolls, RhodeWorks and Governor Raimondo.

Larry Berman, spokesman for Mattiello, said the speaker needed the morning to work at his private law practice. Greg Pare, spokesman for Paiva Weed, said in an email that the Senate president’s “schedule did not permit her to attend today.”

As they are both very much members of the Vice President’s political party, it is odd that they would miss such a high profile event, especially in an election year.

Is anyone hearing why? Were they not invited? Or did they choose not to go …?



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