The Providence City Council passed a resolution at last night’s Council Meeting requesting the Director of Public Works to immediately stop the issuance of road opening permits to National Grid and to any affiliated vendors until all city streets and sidewalks are repaired back to their original condition. This resolution is sponsored by Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia and was passed on a unanimous voice vote.
“National Grid needs to be held accountable for their actions; our roadways are getting torn up, the fines are going unpaid and this neglect must stop,” stated Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia. “It is simply unacceptable that one of the largest energy companies in the world is burdening our residents with higher costs from work that is being half done. As elected officials, it is our duty to ensure that the City’s infrastructure is maintained in appropriate condition for all those who live, work and visit Providence.”
In order to properly install, repair, and maintain equipment public utilities must occasionally open or excavate roads and sidewalks. When the work is not completed appropriately by public utilities it leaves City streets and sidewalks in poor condition, harming public safety, inconveniencing residents, and lowering the quality of life in the community. This resolution requests the City Solicitors Office file an official complaint with the Public Utilities Commission regarding National Grid’s work and that any outstanding fines owed to the City be paid in full.
In 2016, the National Resources Network (NRN) Strategic Fiscal & Management Plan for the City of Providence found a large backlog of sidewalk repair applications and estimated it would cost $90 million to repair the City’s sidewalks. The report also stated that strengthening the City’s capital infrastructure, such as roads and sidewalks, would “provide the foundation for stronger neighborhoods, improved quality of life of residents, and increased economic attractiveness and competitiveness for employers.” The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2017 Infrastructure Report Card states that 54% of Rhode Island’s public roads were rated as in “poor condition” and Rhode Island’s drivers face costs of more than $800 per year from driving on roads in need of repair.
Copies of this resolution were sent to the Director of Public Works, the City Solicitor, National Grid, and the Public Utilities Commission. It can also be found no the Open Meetings Portal here: National Grid.