RhodeWorks Amnesty for East Bay and Aquidneck Island
Leadership on Smith Hill often comes up short on execution but are every bit as calculating as their Capitol Hill counterparts. There are two gaping holes in the RhodeWorks Toll Gantry Net large enough to drive a convoy of 18 Wheelers from the Massachusetts state line clear to Newport across to Jamestown onto North Kingstown and never engage a single RhodeWorks toll gantry. Route 24 from Massachusetts crosses into Tiverton Rhode Island, then on to Aquidneck Island and points south to Portsmouth, Middletown and Newport. Route 136 from Massachusetts crosses into Warren Rhode Island, thru Bristol and on to Aquidneck Island and points south. It’s been widely assumed that the existing Sakonnet River Toll Gantry would be incorporated into Rhodeworks, but based on the RIDOT posting and the map shown below, the Sakonnet River Toll gantry was never one of the original 14 named sites. In the dark of Super Bowl Sunday while the many of us were tailgating indoors, the Sakonnet River Toll Gantries were quietly being dismantled. For months the Trucking Industry, Good Government groups and handful of Republicans led by State Rep. Patricia Morgan pressed the Governor into releasing the locations of the Toll Gantries. What now appears to be RhodeWorks Amnesty for the East Bay and Aquidneck Island is arguably the result of Smith Hill Horse Trading gone wild. One couldn’t rule out the East Bay corridor free of toll gantries isn’t also a quiet concession to political leadership to our neighbors of the north … Massachusetts. The economic impact by the trucking industry in Massachusetts would be hard hit as well.
Three Years ago Aquidneck Island‘s economic livelihood was threatened by Smith Hill Lawmakers Hell-Bent on imposing a Toll on all vehicles on the newly erected the Sakonnet River Bridge. Rep. “Jay” Edwards (D) District 70 Tiverton, Portsmouth, led the East Bay Gang of Eight in holding passage of the 2014 State Budget hostage by not approving the $2.5 Million 38 Studios bond repayment. Then House Speaker Gordon Fox, who’s now spending quality time in Club Fed on charges of bribery and wire fraud was heavily invested in meeting the bond obligation to avoid an investigation into 38 Studios that would be triggered by default on payment. Fox conceded the stay on the bridge toll in exchange for approval of the 38 Studios bond repayment, but before the ink was dry on the Governor’s signature Speaker Fox allowed and approved a trailer bill on the chamber floor to impose a ten cent place holder toll. The lack of anger by members of the Gang of Eight, suggest this drama was in part orchestrated.
Of the 14 members of the General Assembly in the RhodeWorks Amnesty zone, Republican opposition has been heavy, all others have signed on or are participating the Smith Hill past time of “Fence Sitting”, a position unworthy of even Captain Obvious. Leadership on the Hill has shown no restraint or discretion in publicly humiliating the opposition over RhodeWorks. Political memories have no shelf life on The Hill and punishment will continue regardless of party affiliation long after RhodeWorks has been rammed thru. Passage of RhodeWorks is a “Moral Imperative” for Governor Raimondo. It’s the legacy win she needs to elevate her in the National Democratic Party on the road to a Washington post and a 10 year Stimulus package for Rhode Island Organized Labor. Win or lose leadership’s actions have clearly shown they have no respect or fear of the electorate, and passage of RhodeWorks will only embolden Smith Hill’s future efforts of government overreach.
Post House Floor Update… Rep. “Jay” Edwards (D) District 70 Tiverton, Portsmouth, who led the East Bay Gang of Eight 3 years ago to block to toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge Voted Yes to Impose the RhodeWorks Toll and Tax Program. Seems he Voted Against the Toll before he Voted For The Toll.
Representatives Updated House Vote as of 2/11/16
(NV) Rep. Jan P. Malik (D) District 67 Barrington, Warren
(Y) Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall (D) District 68 Bristol
(Y) Rep. Raymond E. Gallison Jr. (D) District 69 Bristol Portsmouth
(Y) Rep. John G. “Jay” Edwards (D) District 70 Tiverton Portsmouth
(N)Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D) District 71 Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton
(N)Rep. Daniel P. Reilly (R) District 72 Portsmouth, Middletown
(Y)Rep. Marvin L. Abney (D) District 73 Newport, Middletown
(Y(Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D) District 74 Jamestown, Middletown
(Y)Rep. Lauren Carson (D) District 75 Newport
Sen. Cynthia Armour Coyne District 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence
Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D) District 12, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton
Sen. Walter S. Felag, Jr. (D) District 10, Bristol, Tiverton, Warren
Sen. John A. Pagliarini (R) District 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton Sen. M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D) District 13, Jamestown, Newport