NEWS

Bonds totaling $400 million on March 2 ballot

By ARDEN BASTIA
Posted 2/11/21

By ARDEN BASTIA On Wednesday, Feb. 10, early in-person voting began for the bond referendum special election March 2. Lawmakers are asking voters to support $400 million in borrowing for education, infrastructure, transportation, and other initiatives.

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NEWS

Bonds totaling $400 million on March 2 ballot

Posted

On Wednesday, Feb. 10, early in-person voting began for the bond referendum special election March 2. Lawmakers are asking voters to support $400 million in borrowing for education, infrastructure, transportation, and other initiatives.

Question 1

would authorize the state to issue $107.3 million in bonds to support higher education infrastructure projects, including $57.3 million for the University of Rhode Island Fine Arts Center, $38 million for the Rhode Island College Clarke Science Building, and $12 million for the Community College of Rhode Island’s Knight and Flanagan campuses.

Question 2

would allow the state to invest $74 million in improving environmental and public recreation facilities and for projects relating to water and recreation. $33 million would go towards capital improvements to state beaches, parks, and campgrounds, as well as updating facilities at locations like Goddard Memorial State Park, Roger Wheeler State Beach, Scarborough State Beach, Misquamicut State Beach, Colt State Park, and Brenton Point State Park. $4 million is allocated park infrastructure development on the former 1-195 land in Providence, including construction to enhance utilities, support park operations and programming, and enable food and beverage service. $4 million would support grants for municipalities to acquire, develop, or rehabilitate local outdoor recreation facilities. $3 million is allocated to protect forested land and working farmland across the state, enabling farmers to remain in business and keep land productive. $15 million will be invested in the Clean and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds to improve the quality of the state’s waters, including infrastructure improvements, wastewater and drinking water treatment updates, stormwater quality improvements, and sewer abatement projects. $7 million will be available to municipalities for restoring or improving the resiliency of infrastructure, vulnerable coastal habitats, river and stream floodplains, and watersheds. $6 million will be used for dredging the Providence River for purposes of economic development, infrastructure maintenance, enhance tourism opportunities, and improvements to support recreation. $2 million will be used for by Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council to develop, improve, and rehabilitate public recreation projects along the river and its Greenway.

Question 3

would allow the state to issue $65 million in bonds for new housing construction, renovation, and property acquisitions, as well as renovating public housing projects, increasing the availability of affordable housing and support of community revitalization. Construction is expected to commence in 2021 and be completed by 2026.

Question 4:

The $72.7 million in bonds issued by question 4 would provide funds to the Department of Transportation to continue the reconstruction of RI’s ports, highways, roads and bridges. The bond will be combined with $286.8 million in federal funding to provide the state with a total of $358.5 million additional dollars to be used solely for the purpose of renovating roads and bridges.

Question 5

would authorize the state to issue $15 million in bonds for renovations of licensed early childhood care and education facilities through an Early Childhood Care and Education Capital Fund. The funding would be distributed through small grants for urgent health and safety needs, to address vacant buildings, and invest in technical support, training, and compliance.

Question 6

would allow the state to issue $7 million in bonds for the Cultural Arts and the Economy Grant Program, as well as the State Preservation Grants Program. The bond would allow $2.5 million for the Trinity Repertory Company, $1.5 million for the Rhode Island Philharmonic, $2 million for grants administered by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and $1 million for grants administered by the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission. Funds will be made available to nonprofit arts organizations and historic properties beginning in 2021 and for a period of three to five years.

Question 7

would allow the state to issue $60 million in bonds to fund improvements to industrial facilities and infrastructure, including the preparation of business-ready parcels for manufacturing or other purposes. $40 million would go towards industrial site development, and $20 million would support Port of Davisville infrastructure, including rehabilitation of old piers and construction of a new one.

Early in-person voting ends on Monday, March 1 at 4 p.m. Polls for in-person voting are open on Tuesday, March 2 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mail-in ballots must be mailed by Feb. 23 or placed in a drop box by 8 p.m. on March 2.

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