R.I. to get $87M from federal spending bill for dozens of projects

PROVIDENCE – More than $87.2 million from the federal 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill that was approved by Congress this week will be directed to Rhode Island to support 78 projects, according to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

The Senate on Thursday gave its blessing for the $1.7 trillion government funding bill, which funds the federal government through September. The House approved it on Friday and it is expected to be signed into law by President Joe Biden.

Of the 78 projects that is getting funding, 26 of them will receive more than $1 million.

The R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority will receive the most money of all the projects. It is getting $10 million for cable and anchorage dehumidification of the Mount Hope Bridge. Pawtucket is receiving $4.5 million to install green infrastructure along the riverwalk.

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Butler Hospital and North Smithfield are each getting $4 million in federal money. Butler will use the funds on facilities and equipment, while North Smithfield plans to convert existing community space, Scouters Hall, into a full-service senior center with an outdoor seating area and walking paths.

Central Falls-based nonprofit Progreso Latino will receive $3 million to purchase and renovate a new office building for its operations and East Providence will utilize the $3 million it expects to get from the bill to fund the city’s community center.

Other noteworthy projects include the Rhode Island Quality Institute getting $750,000 to upgrade public health infrastructure. Whitehouse says the organization will purchase hardware that will increase patient data capacity and support the conversion and incorporation of electronic health data, while ensuring patients can opt out if they choose.

Polaris MEP is expected to get $300,000 to launch a new work-based manufacturing training program, Whitehouse said. And the Rhode Island AFL-CIO will get $200,000 to develop a new climate jobs workforce training initiative. The AFL-CIO’s Just Transition Project, Whitehouse said, will focus on career services for union members in occupations vulnerable to the transition to a net-zero emission economy and those underrepresented in the workforce, including women, people of color, indigenous people, veterans, formerly incarcerated people and people living with disabilities.

The full list of projects, their descriptions and the amounts they expect to receive, can be found here.

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at Bessette@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.