Rep. John J. Edwards (D-Dist. 70) is asking the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) to restore bus service to Tiverton now that the new Sakonnet River Bridge is fully operational.
“My constituents need access to public transportation, as any other city or town in Rhode Island,” the representative wrote to the RIPTA chairman and Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian this week. “We have been paying and continue to pay our share of the gas tax through which [RIPTA] is funded. We expect our fair share of access to public transportation as afforded elsewhere.”
Edwards recognizes that Tiverton is one of a handful of towns in Rhode Island without a RIPTA bus line. Restoration of public transportation in town could result in a positive domino effect for residents who are down on their luck and looking for work or access to education, he said in a recent press release.
“That’s all anyone cares about right now – getting back on their feet,” Edwards said of his request to Avedisian. “The sooner people gain momentum in the employment world, the sooner the state’s economy gets back on track. I understand there are financial concerns, but we also need to work in the interest of fairness. I sincerely hope Chairman Avedisian gives this request some serious consideration.”
The new Sakonnet River Bridge, which connects Tiverton to Portsmouth, eliminates the 18-ton weight limit that formerly barred RIPTA busses from crossing on Route 24. It became fully operational on Friday, Sept. 28, after three years of construction. DOT officials estimate it will wrap up additional construction associated with the bridge in 2013.