The station, expected to cost $40 million, will be located between Dexter and Conant streets. It is within and adjacent to the Amtrak-owned railroad right-of-way between the Conant Street bridge and Dexter Street bridge, in the northwest corner of the city of Pawtucket, near its border with Central Falls.
Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien said a commuter rail station will link "a dense urban population to job centers, educational opportunities, retail and recreational assets."
"It will attract those from outside the area to its historic mills and investment opportunities for mixed-use transit-oriented development that offers a lifestyle and business climate that are in high demand. The Pawtucket and Central Falls teams have been aggressive and focused on this long-overdue project, which will be a game changer that will revitalize our communities," Grebien said.
Announced by the state's congressional delegation, the money is from the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program.
The R.I. Department of Transportation will work with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to provide service at the station, which will offer a connection to Wickford Junction, T.F. Green Airport, Providence and other stops on the way to Boston's South Station.
Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, in a statement, heralded the funding.
"The backbone of a great economy is a diverse and comprehensive transportation system, which includes a robust transit system," Raimondo said.
Said U.S. Sen. Jack F. Reed, "The state must now work to develop a coherent service plan that will support the new station and promote commuter rail ridership throughout the state. I will continue working to secure federal investments to enhance our transportation network."
Pawtucket and Central Falls will provide a local match of $3 million, with the state contributing additional funds, along with a projected allocation of $18.9 million in federal funding directed to the state in annual appropriations. The next phase of planning and acquisition is slated to commence this winter.
The two cities have been trying to bring back passenger rail service to the area since 1981, the year commuter rail service stopped in Pawtucket.
In 2005, the city of Pawtucket began discussions with RIDOT about adding a Pawtucket rail stop and commissioned a $344,000 feasibility study with the help of a federal grant. In 2008, Reed secured a $1.9 million earmark that RIDOT has used to further refine the location and plans for a new station. A preliminary design for the station, including platforms, ramps and shelter for waiting riders, has already been undertaken by RIDOT.
Central Falls Mayor James A. Diossa said the funding announcement brings them "one step closer to bringing unprecedented economic development and employment opportunities to this area."
The TIGER grant application can be viewed HERE.]]>
The personal finance website this week compared the 150 largest cities in America to determine how well they are managed by their leaders.
Warwick, which ranked 28th overall on the list, was 30th in the overall city services rank and 37th in total budget per capita.
Providence ranked in the bottom half, coming in 80th overall, slipping to 114th on overall city services, but improving to 68th in total budget per capita.
WalletHub said it examined each city's performance according to financial stability, education, health, safety and economy as well as infrastructure and pollution. Those categories were then combined to construct an "Overall City Services" ranking, which it measured against the cities' total per-capita budgets to reveal budgeting efficiency.
Warwick was singled out for having the lowest violent crime rate in the study, and the second-lowest percentage of residents living in poverty. Warwick's low violent crime rate of 1.02, is nearly 20 times lower than Detroit, the city ranked the highest, at 19.89.
"I am very proud that Warwick has been named as one of the best-run cities in the country by WalletHub," Mayor Scott Avedisian said in a statement Wednesday. "I'm equally as happy that we were named the best city with the lowest number of violent crimes, which is no doubt a reflection of the dedicated men and women working for our police department. My administration is deeply committed to ensuring that Warwick residents are proud to call this city their home. From our sound fiscal management, affordable housing, superior city services, 39 miles of coastline, and booming travel and tourism industry, Warwick is truly a vibrant and picturesque place to call home."]]>
"Near-term risks to the economic outlook have diminished," the Federal Open Market Committee said in its statement Wednesday after a two-day meeting in Washington, before repeating language from June that the panel "continues to closely monitor" inflation and global developments. Job gains were "strong" in June and indicators "point to some increase in labor utilization in recent months," the Fed said.
U.S. central bankers are taking stock of the economy's progress in the wake of the U.K.'s vote last month to leave the European Union, as well as the large swing from May's soft labor report to June's rebound. While Chair Janet Yellen has repeatedly stated that the Fed is likely to raise interest rates gradually, market volatility and the unexpected dip in job gains have delayed such plans.
"It's kind of an upbeat statement, although guarded," said Roberto Perli, partner at Cornerstone Macro LLC in Washington and former associate director for monetary affairs at the Fed Board. "It's a sign of a little bit of confidence, if you want, in the outlook going forward."
The committee repeated that it expects "economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate." There was no reference to the specific timing of the next potential rate hike.
Data since the Fed's June meeting indicate "that the labor market strengthened and that economic activity has been expanding at a moderate rate," the Fed said. The statement contained three references to recent improvement in the labor market.
The central bank left the target range for the benchmark federal funds rate at 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent, where it's been since a quarter-point increase in December that ended seven years of near-zero rates.
Household spending "has been growing strongly," while business investment "has been soft," the FOMC said. The Fed reiterated that it expects inflation to rise to its 2 percent target over the medium term.
Yellen is defining her term at the central bank with a cautious policy aimed at steering the economy through domestic headwinds such as tight credit and low productivity gains as well as global shocks. The unexpectedly long pause in interest-rate increases has suggested she's waiting for overwhelming evidence of a strong economy and for international risks to subside.
"You have to view September as a very real possibility for a rate hike, but it's not our base case," said Luke Tilley, chief economist at asset manager Wilmington Trust Corp. "If the data comes in fairly strongly ahead of September, they've positioned themselves to do something."
The statement contrasted June's jobs report with "weak growth in May." Non-farm payrolls rose by 287,000 jobs in June, dispelling some concern that hiring had slowed, after May's gain of 11,000. Recent reports on retail sales, housing starts, capacity utilization, and service industries have all beat economists' expectations.
Yellen wasn't scheduled to hold a press conference after this week's meeting. Fed officials next meet Sept. 20-21, and will publish new forecasts and rate projections at the conclusion of that gathering.
Esther George, president of the Kansas City Fed, dissented, reinstating her preference for a quarter-point increase after supporting the decision in June to leave rates unchanged.
All but two of 94 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News expected the Fed to leave interest rates unchanged at the meeting. Federal funds futures ahead of Wednesday's statement suggested that traders see close to a 50-50 chance of a rate hike at or before the FOMC's final meeting this year, in December.
Yellen will speak at the Kansas City Fed's Jackson Hole, Wyoming, symposium on Aug. 26. That will provide her with an opportunity to discuss the committee's sense of the economy's progress.
"The market is going to pay a lot of attention to that speech," Perli said.]]>
The BLS said wages in the local area were higher than their respective national averages in 11 of the 22 major occupational groups, including health care practitioners and technical; education, training and library; and management.
Three groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages: legal; computer and mathematical; and transportation and material moving.
Health care practitioners and technical had an average hourly wage of $41.84, compared with the national average of $37.40, while education, training and library had an average wage of $28.75 compared with the national average of $25.48. Management jobs in Providence averaged $57.48 an hour, compared with the national average of $55.30.
As for legal jobs, the average hourly wage in the Providence metro was $44.56, below the national average hourly wage of $49.74. Locally, computer and mathematical jobs paid $39.09 an hour, less than the national average wage of $41.43 for those positions. Transportation and material moving paid $16.40 an hour on average in the Providence metro, while nationally, those jobs paid $16.90.
Providence-Warwick-Fall River had 23,880 jobs in health care support, accounting for 4.3 percent of local area employment, significantly higher than the 2.9 percent share nationally. The average hourly wage for this occupational group locally was $15.02, above the national wage of $14.19, the BLS said.
Among the 22 major occupational groups, office and administrative support held the largest percentage in the Providence metro at 16.1 percent, while life, physical and social science held the lowest at 0.6 percent.
Occupational employment statistics for the Providence metro can be viewed HERE.]]>
SAN FRANCISCO - Three Rhode Island restaurants made OpenTable's 2016 list of the 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America.
The online restaurant reservations provider named 15 Point Road in Portsmouth, The Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn in Newport and Boat House Waterfront Dining in Tiverton to the list.
OpenTable praised 15 Point Road's "enchanting moonlit river view" of the Sakonnet River. The restaurant offers American cuisine and seafood.
Boat House Waterfront Dining, a seafood restaurant, previously was listed on OpenTable's Top 100 Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in May and placed eighth on the provider's Top 10 Seafood Restaurants in New England for December in 2015. The Boat House also hosts a view of the Sakonnet River, along with views of Tiverton's farming and seaside community.
OpenTable describes The Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn as "the backdrop of memorable occasions for over a century, residing inside a historic mansion built in 1875." Noted for its contemporary American cuisine, it also offers more than 800 wine selections.
OpenTable's 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America for 2016 list reflects opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 20,000 restaurants in the United States.]]>
PROVIDENCE - The executive director of Save The Bay says it is premature for the R.I. Energy Facility Siting Board to make a decision on the proposed natural gas-fired power plant in Burrillville before the state adopts a greenhouse gas reduction strategy.
Save The Bay Executive Director Jonathan Stone, in a press release issued Wednesday, said that under the Resilient RI Act of 2014, the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council is required to submit to the governor and General Assembly a plan for achieving greenhouse gas emission targets, noting the deadline for this report is Dec. 31.
"Until this strategy has been developed and adopted, and the Invenergy proposal is shown to be consistent with the GHG reduction goals of the Resilient RI Act, it is premature for the R.I. Energy Facility Siting Board to issue a decision on Invenergy's proposed power plant," Stone said.
Invenergy Thermal Development LLC, a Chicago-based company, is seeking state approval to build a new co-generation, natural-gas, 1,000-megawatt power plant in Burrillville. A decision by the board on the project is expected this fall.
The proposed project would be located in the Narragansett Bay watershed, on the Clear River, a tributary to the Blackstone River which flows into Narragansett Bay.
In response, John Niland, Invenergy development director, said there is no reason to delay the review.
"Rhode Island and the rest of New England is facing a possible energy shortage in the coming years, which is in part why ISO-New England awarded the Clear River Energy Center with a capacity supply obligation. It's clear that projects like ours will be an important part of the energy mix Rhode Island needs to meet demand, while also reducing carbon emissions by replacing older, more polluting power plants. The Rhode Island Energy Facilities Siting Board is the proper venue for energy-project siting decisions, and there's no reason to delay that review. At the same time, Rhode Island's energy policy discussions will and should continue," Niland said in prepared remarks.
Save The Bay said it expects the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council to consider benefits and impacts of investments in renewable energy generation and energy conservation on energy system supply, distribution and reliability; the role of hydroelectric power in replacing nuclear power; and whether or not the power generation capacity of the proposed facility is needed.
"Climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels and poses profound threats to the health and resilience of Narragansett Bay," Stone said. "The pace of climate change is expected to accelerate. Already, rising sea levels are degrading the health of coastal wetlands, worsening coastal erosion and threatening public access along the shore. Warming temperatures contribute to harmful algal blooms, low oxygen levels in the bay and the loss of native species."
Save The Bay said it will continue to monitor the project, as it is the steward of Narragansett Bay, if it moves forward.]]>
That's lower than the national figure of 31.6 percent cash sales share in April. The national cash sales share fell 2.8 percentage points over the year from April 2015, CoreLogic said.
Through April, the cash sales share averaged 33.9 percent nationwide, the lowest start to any year since 2008, according to CoreLogic. The cash sales share peaked in January 2011, when cash transactions accounted for 46.6 percent of total home sales nationally. Before the housing crisis, the cash sales share of total home sales averaged approximately 25 percent.
CoreLogic predicts that the share will reach 25 percent by mid-2018 if the cash sales continue to fall at the same rate it did in April.
Nationwide, real estate-owned sales had the largest cash sales share in April at 56.7 percent. Resales had the next highest cash sales share at 31.3 percent, followed by short sales at 28.6 percent and newly constructed homes at 14.5 percent.
REO transactions accounted for only 5.7 percent of all sales in April. Back in January 2011, when the cash sales share peaked, REO sales represented nearly 24 percent of total home sales.
Resales, which typically make up the majority of home sales, totaled approximately 83 percent in April.
Florida had the largest cash sales share of any state at 45.5 percent, while Washington, D.C., had the lowest at 16 percent.
Rhode Island was at 26.2 percent compared with 35.7 percent at April 2015. Of the nation's largest 100 Core Based Statistical Areas, Philadelphia had the highest cash sales share at 57.9 percent, while Syracuse, N.Y., had the lowest cash sales share at 13.3 percent.]]>
"The members of the plaintiff class are disappointed that the court gave total deference to the city, which created its own financial downfall by failing to contribute to the required annual pension contributions over decades," the group, known formally as the Cranston Police Retirees Action Committee, or CPRAC, told Providence Business News.
"The court characterized this failure as an 'unprecedented fiscal emergency,' which [CPRAC] presented evidence to refute. It will file an appeal on these issues," the group added.
Superior Court Judge Sarah J. Taft-Carter presided over the case, which stems from 2012 after Fung froze yearly benefit increases - known as cost-of-living adjustments - for retired police and firefighters. The city for years had underfunded the public safety workers' pension benefits, which was headed for bankruptcy as liabilities greatly exceeded set-aside assets.
Most of the city's public safety workers entered into a class-action settlement with the city, but CPRAC - formed by 75-retired police and firefighters - opted out and sued Fung, members of his staff and the city, accusing the defendants of infractions to contract clauses of the R.I. Constitution and U.S. Constitution. In opting out of the class-action lawsuit, CPRAC members are subject to harsher 10-year cost-of-living adjustment freezes, but the group says it started this lawsuit with the assumption it would fight it until the end.
"[CPRAC] filed this suit with the understanding that it was not going to be decided finally at the Superior Court level," the group said.
Fung, who called the decision historic news, told PBN the city "is prepared to do whatever it takes to defend this historic decision upholding our pension reforms all the way to the Supreme Court."
Taft-Carter is currently determining whether to hand down a similar decision for an opt-out case in Providence that stems from the same time period under the former Mayor Angel Taveras' administration.]]>
Bookings for non-military capital goods excluding aircraft climbed 0.2 percent last month after a 0.5 percent decrease in May, data from the Commerce Department showed Wednesday in Washington. Orders for all durable goods -- items meant to last at least three years -- slumped a larger-than-forecast 4 percent, the most since August 2014.
While demand for business investment stabilized, bigger gains will be needed to jump-start an economy that's been dependent on consumers. Signs of more stability in overseas markets would go a long way in helping to convince companies that demand remains healthy enough to justify more equipment spending.
"Decision-makers are reluctant to spend on equipment," Kevin Cummins, an economist at RBS Securities Inc. in Stamford, Conn., said before the report. "That's certainly one thing that has remained pretty weak and lackluster throughout the recovery."
The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimated orders for all durable goods would fall 1.4 percent, with projections ranging from a 5 percent drop to a 2 percent increase. The gain in orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft -- a proxy for business investment -- matched the median estimate.
Shipments of non-military capital goods excluding aircraft, which are used to calculate gross domestic product, decreased 0.4 percent in June after falling 0.5 percent the month before.
Companies placed more orders for electrical equipment and appliances in June than they have all year and demand rose for motor vehicles. Still, bookings weakened for metals, machinery, computers and communications equipment.
Commercial aircraft orders slumped 58.8 percent in June after dropping 5.5 percent a month earlier.
Boeing Co., one of the world's largest airplane makers, said it received 12 orders for planes last month, down sharply from 125 the previous month. Deliveries for the month totaled 74 aircraft, compared with 71 in May.
Excluding transportation equipment orders, which are often volatile from month to month, bookings for durable goods unexpectedly fell 0.5 percent in June, the report showed. They were projected to rise 0.3 percent.
Orders for military capital equipment decreased 20.7 percent last month, and demand for non-defense durable goods fell 3.9 percent.
Durable goods inventories fell 0.2 percent, while unfilled orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft declined another 0.2 percent.]]>
Net income fell 50 percent to 1.28 billion euros ($1.41 billion) from 2.54 billion euros a year earlier, when a favorable tax ruling in Brazil allowed the lender to free up provisions, Spain's biggest bank said Wednesday. Analysts were expecting a profit of 1.22 billion euros, the average of five estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Chairman Ana Botin is shutting hundreds of branches and plans to cut 1,400 jobs this year in Spain, where revenue remains under pressure from historically low interest rates, competition for customers and weak demand for credit. Santander also faces potential repercussions from the U.K.'s vote to leave the European Union, which is expected to slow the economy of the bank's biggest market this year.
"We continue to deliver on our commitments and reaffirm guidance of an increase in earnings and total dividend per share in 2016, despite worse-than-expected economic conditions," Botin said in a statement that noted the deterioration in the global outlook this year but did not mention any immediate effects from the U.K. ballot in June.
Also Wednesday, Italy's UniCredit SpA said it ended talks with the Spanish bank to combine their asset-management units. Santander CEO Jose Antonio Alvarez said the banks weren't able to meet regulatory expectations without "significantly harming the strategy of the deal."
The stock was trading 2.5 percent higher at 3.84 euros at 1.41 p.m. in Madrid. Santander shares have fallen about 15 percent this year, valuing the bank at about 56 billion euros.
The lender took a hit of about 475 million euros in the second quarter, mainly reflecting the costs of laying off employees and closing branches as the bank steps up its digital service. Santander also booked a 120 million-euro contribution to the European Resolution Fund, set up after the 2008 financial crisis to prevent state-funded bailouts. Those charges were partly offset by the sale of a stake in Visa Europe Ltd. to Visa Inc., which lifted Santander's pretax profit by 227 million euros.
"The bank's reaffirmation of the target to increase dividend is important and quarterly results seem to support that goal," Renta 4 banking analyst Nuria Alvarez said by phone. He said the results are positive for the lender, especially fee income, which increased 8.5 percent from a year earlier in constant euros. It fell 1.5 percent when factoring in the currency fluctuations.
Net interest income -- what the bank earns from lending after deducting what it pays on deposits and other liabilities -- dropped to 7.57 billion euros from 8.28 billion euros a year earlier. In Spain, the measure declined 4 percent from the first quarter as low interest rates and weak credit demand continue to weigh on margins.
Net interest income in Spain will remain "flattish" in coming quarters, CEO Alvarez said in a conference call with analysts Wednesday.
Profit from the U.K. unit, the biggest contributor to Santander's earnings, declined 28 percent. After last month's referendum, the bank reiterated its financial targets for the year, including capital creation of 10 basis points per quarter and achieving a higher earnings per share than in 2015.
So far Santander has seen no impact from the vote on U.K. consumer loans or credit card use, Chief Financial Officer Jose Antonio Garcia Cantera said in a Bloomberg Television interview. "Santander is highly committed to the U.K."
In Brazil, the bank's second-largest unit, profit declined 5 percent when calculated in euros from a year earlier and was up 11 percent in local currency. The real was the world's best-performing currency in the first half on wagers that a new government would help pull Brazil out of its worst recession in a century.
Profit fell about 27 percent in the U.S., where Santander failed the Federal Reserve test for financial resiliency for the third straight year. The Fed said Santander suffers from "broad and substantial weaknesses" in how it manages capital. Earlier this week, the lender's car-financing unit in the U.S. postponed release of its second-quarter financial report as it discusses "certain accounting matters," mainly its method for estimating credit losses and the value of some assets.]]>