September 23, 2009

Senate Approves $6.5 Million for Rhode Island in Transportation and Housing Spending Plan

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) announced that the U.S. Senate has approved legislation including $4.45 million in funding for Rhode Island transportation, housing, and infrastructure improvement initiatives they requested as part of the 2010 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) spending bill. The bill also includes $1.1 million that Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee, secured for key programs throughout the state as well as $950,000 secured by Whitehouse.

“I am pleased to have secured federal dollars to expand rail and bus service, develop affordable housing options, and upgrade critical infrastructure like the Pawtucket River Bridge. This bill also contains $500,000 to help restore sections of the Newport Cliff Walk damaged by storms so that visitors and Rhode Islanders can safely enjoy one of Rhode Island’s most treasured destinations,” said Reed.

“This federal funding will put Rhode Islanders back to work building critical infrastructure for tomorrow and improving facilities used every day by people throughout our Ocean State,” said Whitehouse.

Reed and Whitehouse secured funding in the 2010 Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development spending bill for several key Rhode Island projects, including:

Pawtucket River Bridge
Pawtucket, RI

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) requested this federal funding to upgrade the Pawtucket River Bridge, a major bridge on the National Highway System. The bridge is currently posted with a weight limit of 18 tons. The weight limit, while necessary for public safety, is a major impediment to commercial traffic in Rhode Island and in the region, making timely replacement of the bridge critical.

Street Paving and Reconstruction
Providence, RI
The City of Providence, which is responsible for the maintenance of 370 miles of paved streets, seeks funding to make much-needed pavement repairs across the city.

Amos House
Providence, RI

This federal funding will enable Amos House to build a new Works Training and Support Center, housed in a three-story building, providing expanded classroom space for carpentry and culinary arts job training and literacy programs and space for two micro-businesses. It will also create an upgraded dining hall with seating capacity for 110 people. Amos House is a nonprofit social services organization serving poor, homeless, unemployed, and underemployed Rhode Islanders.

Newport Cliff Walk
Newport, RI

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and the City of Newport requested this federal funding to restore Newport’s Cliff Walk. In 1975 the Newport Cliff Walk was designated as a National Recreation Trail, the first in New England.

Senior Center
North Kingstown, RI

The Town of North Kingstown requested this federal funding to help replace the North Kingstown Senior Center, which has been in existence for 34 years, and is outgrowing its existing space. The senior center serves as a gathering place offering senior nutrition and transportation programs, social and recreational activities, health promotion and screenings, case management, physical activity programs, volunteer services, educational programming, and information and referral services.

Westerly Area Rest Meals
Westerly, RI

This federal funding will enable Westerly Area Rest Meals (WARM Inc.) to renovate a portion of its 54 Spruce Street location to include a commercial kitchen and a 70-seat dining area to accommodate the needs of its expanding Community Soup Kitchen program.

Sen. Reed secured funding in the bill for the following Rhode Island initiatives:

Statewide Bus Replacement

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) requested this federal funding for its statewide bus replacement program, which is an ongoing project. The newer vehicles will be more fuel-efficient, reducing emissions and helping RIPTA rein in costs as fuel prices rise. Replacement of vehicles also benefits passengers around the state who rely on public transit service, improving reliability and comfort for RIPTA’s 25 million passengers.

Tides Family Services, Inc.
West Warwick, RI
This federal funding will enable Tides Family Services to carry out facility renovations and upgrades in order to serve an additional 50 youths and families. Tides helps at-risk youth transition from the State Training School back to their homes and neighborhoods and provides intensive peer, individual, and group counseling to high-risk young people.
Pawtucket Public Library
Pawtucket, RI

This federal funding will enable the city to make improvements to the Pawtucket Public Library while continuing to provide staffing and funding for its various programs.

Additionally, Sen. Whitehouse secured funding in the bill for the following:

North Kingstown, RI

This federal funding will be used for the development and construction of a Child Care and Community Center.

Old Slater Mill Association
Pawtucket, RI

This federal funding will be used to complete the historic restoration project at Old Slater Mill.

The bill must now be reconciled with the version passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. It then goes to the President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

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