Is the state doing enough to help businesses that have lost customers due to the Washington Bridge lane closures?

GOV. DANIEL J. MCKEE on April 22 filed an amendment to his proposed fiscal 2025 budget that would provide $1.3 million for small businesses hurt by the closure of the Washington Bridge. / PBN FILE PHOTO/ WILLIAM HAMILTON

Gov. Daniel J. McKee’s proposed fiscal 2025 budget includes $1.3 million for small businesses hurt by the closure of the Washington Bridge.

The April 22 budget amendment redirects federal money from the state’s fiscal recovery funds to assist those affected businesses with grants or other business supports. That funding includes $600,000 going to East Providence and $300,000 to Providence.

The amendment also creates a $300,000 contingency fund with R.I. Commerce Corp. to support any significantly impacted businesses outside of East Providence and Providence.

McKee’s budget amendment is in addition to the $400,000 marketing campaign funded through the state’s hotel tax that he proposed on April 3. The marketing campaign, being created by two Rhode Island-based companies, will direct funding and aim to provide relief and drive business back into areas impacted by the bridge.

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In December safety concerns prompted the temporary closure of the westbound side of the bridge, part of I-195 that crosses the Seekonk River and connects the state’s East Bay with the city. State officials have said the westbound bridge will need to be replaced.

Is the state doing enough to help businesses that have lost customers due to the Washington Bridge lane closures?

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