Rhode Island Capital Bonds for Transportation Question, Question 3 (2010)

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The Rhode Island Capital Bonds for Transportation Question, also known as Question 3, was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the state of Rhode Island as a bond question

. The measure was approved. Approveda[1][2]

The measure was proposed to allow the state to issue general obligation bonds to match federal funds to improve state highways, roads and bridges. The amount would not be able to exceed $80 million. Another $4.7 million would be used to buy and improve buses for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority's bus fleet.

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results

Official election results of the measure follow:

Question 3 (Transportation Bonds)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 233,182 73.1%
No85,66026.9%

Results via Rhode Island State Board of Elections.

Text of measure

Ballot title

The ballot title that Rhode Island voters saw read:[2]

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Approval of this question will authorize the State of Rhode Island to issue general obligation bonds, refunding bonds, and temporary notes in an amount not to exceed eighty million dollars ($80,000,000) to match federal funds and provide direct funding for improvements to the state's highways, roads and bridges and four million seven hundred thousand dollars ($4,700,000) to purchase and/or rehabilitate buses for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority's bus fleet.

Approve

Reject

Summary

The summary of the measure read as follows:

Approval of this question will authorize the State of Rhode Island to issue general obligation bonds, refunding bonds, and temporary notes in an amount not to exceed eighty million dollars ($80,000,000) to match federal funds and provide direct funding for improvements to the state’s highways, roads, and bridges and four million seven hundred thousand dollars ($4,700,000) to purchase and/or rehabilitate buses for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority’s bus fleet.[1]

Support

Arguments

According to Robert Shawyer, of the Planning and Finance Division at the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, the measure would allow the $80 million roadway money to provide a state match that was needed to leverage approximately $160 million in federal money each year. The Rhode Island Legislature historically did not use money from the general fund to match federal money, leaving the Department of Transportation to borrow money, according to Shawyer. The department relied on federal money to pay for projects that included road resurfacing and bridge work.[3]

Opposition

Opponents

  • The Rhode Island Tea Party planned to vote 'no' on the measure. According to Colleen Conley, president of the group, "In 2008, we borrowed $87.2 million and look at the state of our roads and bridges. They are worse now then they have ever been. Where has that money gone?"[4]

Campaign contributions

Support

The following contributions were made in support of the measure:[5]

Reporting period Contributor Contributions or Expenditures
July 7-August 31 Construction Industries of Rhode Island $19,059.22
September 1-30 Construction Industries of Rhode Island $86,016.82
October 1-31 Construction Industries of Rhode Island $82,459.02

Reports, analysis and studies

The Rhode Island Public Expenditures Council released questions on October 13, 2010 for voters to consider before making their decision on how to vote on the three bond issues on the November 2, 2010 ballot. RIPEC, according to reports, was a business-backed group that monitors finances in the state. The group did not take positions on ballot issues, but did present the following questions, reports said:[6]

  • Which projects will result in investments that will strengthen the state’s economy and help grow and retain jobs?
  • Do some of the proposed projects represent higher priorities than others given finite resources?
  • Do the benefits outweigh the costs of the projects when interest costs are taken into account?
  • What impact will new capital projects have on the cost of operating state government?

Media endorsements

See also: Endorsements of Rhode Island ballot measures, 2010

Support

  • The Providence Journal published an editorial stating their support for the measure. The editorial stated, "Yes, we worry about debt in the Ocean State and in Washington, but this money is for things the government must do. It’s a repair job that Rhode Island must perform with or without federal aid. So please vote for Question 3."[7]

See also

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References