Last night, Rhode Island voters made a resounding choice to support three (3) key investments in our state’s economic future.
By approving investments in Clean Water Infrastructure (Question 5 – 73% approved), Open Space and Farmland Protection (Question 6 – 69% approved) and Affordable Housing (Question 7 – 61% approved), voters sent a clear message to elected officials that they support targeted investments in our infrastructure and quality-of-place as being vital to building a robust 21st century economy.
“Maintaining this focus on targeted investments in our key assets can accelerate our economic progress dramatically,” said Scott Wolf, Grow Smart Rhode Island Executive Director, emphasizing that “a strong quality-of-place is becoming an increasingly competitive advantage for the very mobile, high-wage, knowledge-based workers and jobs that Rhode Island seeks to attract.”
The Clean Water Infrastructure and Open Space/Farmland Protection bonds passed in every community, while the Affordable Housing bond passed in 34 of the state’s 39 cities and towns, representing more than 95% of the state’s population.
We are convinced that these investments will generate a high and relatively quick return in physical improvements to the state’s infrastructure along with thousands of new construction and permanent jobs. They are part of a package of proposals that Grow Smart recently unveiled in our economic call to action.
Other elements of this package include three additional proposals teed up for early action in the 2013 General Assembly:
- A proposal to bring back in modified form the successful State Historic Tax Credit to jumpstart economic development in our urban and town centers.
- The proposal of the Coalition for Transportation Choices to invest more systematically in mass transit to better connect workers with jobs and to save people money on their commute.
- A proposal endorsed by the RI League of Cities and Towns, municipal officials and several legislators strengthening municipalities’ ability and incentive to invest in key infrastructure critical for economic development at the local level.
Detailed information about each of these proposals as well as other economic development opportunities for Rhode Island is available in Grow Smart RI’s 2012 Briefing Book for Candidates and Voters. (.pdf) The 21-page book makes the case for an asset asset based economic development strategy to expand the state’s economic development focus beyond austerity measures that only avert disaster rather than ensure a stronger future.