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2014 Legislative & Policy Agenda

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Economic Development and Community Revitalization

  • Push for adoption by the Rhode Map RI consortium (that includes Grow Smart RI) of an asset based economic development strategy – – one that identifies key physical, natural and institutional assets of the State and proposes strategies to capitalize more fully on them.
  • Enact the Governor’s proposal to extend the Historic Tax Credit Program with $52 million dollars in additional funding.
  • Support the Micro Zone Economic Revitalization Act, H-8119, legislation to stimulate economic and community development in our distressed urban communities.
  • Advocate for November ballot placement and voter approval of the proposed Clean Water, Open Space and Healthy Communities Bond Issue that includes first time ever state funding for Brownfield cleanup, continued funding of farm preservation efforts along with investments in our marine infrastructure.
  • Advocate for November ballot placement and voter approval of the proposed Creative and Cultural Economy Bond, especially the proposal for $ 5 million dollars in renewed funding for the State Historic Preservation Grant Program. This program provides funding to rehabilitate historic public buildings such as museums and town halls that are not eligible for the State Historic Tax Credit.
  • Support approval of the proposal before the General Assembly to ensure redevelopment of the South Station property as a mixed use development that would include the proposed URI/Rhode Island College Nursing School.
  • Promote a major increase in the state’s tourism promotion budget, similar to that submitted by Governor Chafee in his FY’14 Budget proposal.


Expanded Transportation Choices that Strengthen Vibrant Centers

  • Advocate adoption of the Edwards/DiPalma transportation reform bill (S-2335) that includes a multi year commitment of additional funding for RIPTA to meet the growing demand for affordable and convenient mass transit.
  • Take a leadership role in building consensus for a new bus hub system envisioned in the Governor’s proposed $40 million Transit Hubs Bond Issue. Seek a system that improves the rider experience, accommodates ridership growth, better integrates RIPTA service with MBTA commuter rail service and facilitates plans for revitalization of Kennedy Plaza as a vibrant transportation, recreational and community center.
  • Continue to build awareness for and strategies to implement “Complete Streets” design principles into roadway projects at the state and municipal level through development and delivery of workshops and engagement with local advocates.
  • Continue advocacy with the State Department of Administration for implementation of a State Employee Transportation Plan that includes provision of a RIPTA pass in lieu of free parking privileges (per RI General Law 36-6-21.1).
  • Utilize partnerships with Smart Growth America and Transportation for America to influence Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation to continue working aggressively for federal investments in clean, efficient transit.
  • Support the City of Providence’s efforts to establish a modern streetcar starter line as a means to improve downtown mobility and to stimulate more concentrated and efficient real estate and economic development along its route.


Strengthened Farm Viability, Increased Food Production & Access to Local Food

  • Advocate in the General Assembly for placement on the November ballot of the Governor’s proposed 2014 Clean Water, Open Space and Healthy Communities Bond Issue, which includes funding for farmland conservation.
  • Support continued funding for the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act (LASA) grants program — $100,000 in the Governor’s FY ’15 budget proposal and $500,000 for future-year funding in the 2014 Clean Water, Open Space and Healthy Communities Bond Issue.
  • Work with RI Agricultural Partnership and RI Food Policy Council to research and promote state legislation and regulatory changes designed to expand agricultural activity and strengthen Rhode Island’s food system, including recycling food waste for animal feed, compost and energy creation, facilitating the lease of appropriate public and private lands to beginning farmers who need farmland and strengthening Rhode Island’s local preference policy for state food purchasing.
  • In cooperation with partners, complete analysis of current municipal ordinances affecting the agricultural economy and identify model ordinances that support agriculture and are appropriate for RI municipalities.
  • Use Grow Smart’s Land Use Training Collaborative workshops and other public education and outreach vehicles to underscore the importance of agriculture and a strong food system to our economy and public health.


Expanded Housing Options and Affordability

  • Play leadership role in advocacy efforts around the State Historic Tax Credit (HTC) and champion continued inclusion of low and moderate income housing units as an eligible use under the HTC.
  • Advocate for continued funding of the Neighborhood Opportunities Program (NOP) which was the first RI state government program established to provide funds to address the housing needs of low and moderate income Rhode Islanders, with an emphasis on rental and supportive housing.