WASHINGTON, DC — Rhode Island’s federal transportation project grants, generally $45 million each year, typically matching grants, may not be dispersed if the state fails to meet the matching funds thanks to a COVID-19 slowed economy.
Congressmen Jim Langevin (D-RI), David Cicilline (D-RI), and Dusty Johnson (R-SD), have introduced the Highways Coronavirus Relief Act, bipartisan legislation that will temporarily remove the matching requirement.
By temporarily removing the requirement for states to provide matching funds for active construction projects, Rhode Island and other states will be able to continue their infrastructure improvements despite the fiscal challenges brought on by the pandemic. Highway improvements encompass a range of projects from the replacement, repair and painting of bridges, to road paving, maintenance, and other road safety enhancements and operational upgrades.
“Robust federal infrastructure investments help revitalize the economy and improve quality of life,” said Langevin. “As states continue to face steep fiscal challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must keep transportation projects moving forward to support good-paying jobs for local workers and build the foundation for Rhode Island’s future. This legislation will provide the federal resources states need to keep critical construction activities going for the immediate future as we continue to press for broader aid for states.”
“Improving and modernizing our infrastructure is a critical priority,” said Cicilline. “This bill will help create jobs in our state. I am proud to co-sponsor it and to continue working to rebuild our roads, bridges, and schools.”
“RIDOT applauds the vision this bill shows and its understanding of the precarious nature of our funding situation,” said Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti. “Right now, RIDOT faces a future where it may not be able to meet the state match required for millions of federal dollars the department has attracted in both discretionary and formula funds. This bill will provide the vital resources we need to continuing rebuilding our bridges and keep many Rhode Islanders employed through this crisis.”
Upon enactment, the legislation would apply to existing and unliquidated formula grant obligations and those made after its enactment through September 30, 2021.