House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said he supports the basic premise of Governor Raimondo’s plan to pay for bridge improvements through truck tolls, during his wide-ranging end-of-year interview with Rhode Island Public Radio.
The governor’s infrastructure plan died in the 2015 legislative session when it did not get a vote in the House.
But Mattiello said he expects a version of Raimondo’s proposal to move ahead in the new legislative session starting next month, with some changes.
“We certainly want some type of oversight in the bill,” said Mattiello. “We want a good idea of what the tolls are going to be, want to try to get the toll amount down, want to look at the repayment period, see if we can reduce it. If we can make it more efficient, cut down the repayment period, I think it best serves the citizens.”
Mattiello also discussed the PawSox. He said he’s unsure if Rhode Island will be able to keep the minor league baseball team in the state over the long term.
The PawSox have been working to rebuild their ties with the community after a proposal to create a riverfront ballpark in Providence sparked a public backlash.
The team plans to remain at McCoy Stadium at least in the short term. Mattiello says he’s not sure if the PawSox can be convinced to stay in the state over the long haul.
“I hope so,” said Mattiello. “There’s been no negotiations or discussions of late. I’ve heard no new proposals. So I’m concerned that in the future that may or may not be a realistic possibility.”
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