Rhode Island to issue $149M in bonds for capital improvements

VOTERS vote up or down referendum questions on Election Day./ PBN GRAPHIC/LISA LAGRECA
VOTERS vote up or down referendum questions on Election Day./ PBN GRAPHIC/LISA LAGRECA

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island on Tuesday will sell $149.4 million in bonds to pay for a slew of capital-improvement programs approved by voters dating back to 2012.

The state will issue about $114.3 million of Series A tax-exempt bonds and $35.1 million of Series B taxable bonds. The funding will go toward referendum-approved infrastructure projects, including $17.8 million for academic buildings at Rhode Island College, which Rhode Island voters approved in 2012.

Another $9.4 million and $10 million will go toward improving the Port of Davisville at Quonset Point and the Port of Providence, respectively. The port-improvement funding was approved during the 2016 election.

The issuance also includes $1 million for the Mass Transit Hub, approved in 2014, and $2.5 million for the University of Rhode Island-affiliated Innovation Campus approved in 2016.

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The prioritization of projects is based on readiness, according to Evan England, spokesman for R.I. General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. The treasurer’s office is responsible for issuing bonds, which typically happens for capital-improvement projects in tranches each year.

The sale of the general obligation bonds will be held Tuesday morning and the funding will be made available as early as April 18, pending approval from the state budget office.

A full list of bonds and projects includes:

Series A tax-exempt bonds: $114.3 million

2012 referendum

  • $500,000 for local land-acquisition grants
  • $1 million for Narragansett Bay and watershed restoration
  • $1.8 million for R.I. Infrastructure Bank, previously known as the Clean Water Finance Agency
  • $1.5 million for local recreation grants
  • $17.8 million for higher education facilities

2014 referendum

  • $4.5 million for the Cultural Arts and Economy Grant Program
  • $1.5 million for State Preservation Grants Program
  • $1 million for flood prevention
  • $1 million for farmland acquisition
  • $1 million for local recreation grants
  • $2.6 million for Roger Williams Park Zoo
  • $52 million for higher education facilities

2016 referendum

  • $9.5 million for Port of Davisville infrastructure at Quonset Point
  • $1.6 million for urban revitalization and blight remediation
  • $1 million for brownfield remediation and economic development
  • $2 million for the State Bikeway Development Program
  • $1 million for the Historic State Park Development Program
  • $1 million for the State Land Acquisition Program
  • $1 million for the Local Land Acquisition Matching Grant Program
  • $1 million for the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program
  • $10 million for the URI College of Engineering

Series B taxable bonds: $35.1 million

2012 referendum

  • $200,000 for higher education facilities

2014 referendum

  • $8 million for higher education facilities
  • $1 million for Mass Transit Hub infrastructure

2016 referendum

  • $10 million for Port of Providence infrastructure
  • $2.5 million for URI-affiliated Innovation Campus Program
  • $3.4 million for urban revitalization and blight remediation
  • $10 million for affordable-housing development

Eli Sherman is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Sherman@PBN.com, or follow him on Twitter @Eli_Sherman.