PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jonathan Womer today announced the findings of the RhodeWorks economic impact study conducted by Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI).
According to the study:
• RhodeWorks will increase the State's GDP by $538M;
• RhodeWorks will increase personal income by $521M; and
• RhodeWorks will create a net total of 6,487 jobs
"Rhode Island cannot afford to sit on the sidelines while our infrastructure continues to deteriorate," said Raimondo. "This study again confirms that RhodeWorks is a smart approach to fix our crumbling infrastructure, create thousands of jobs, and accelerate our economic comeback by putting millions of dollars into the pockets of Rhode Islanders. It's time to stop dragging our feet and start taking action."
"RhodeWorks will bring a much-needed boost to Rhode Island's economy both because it will put people to work now and because it will make our state a more attractive place for businesses to invest - increasing our GDP and Rhode Islanders' personal incomes," said Womer. "This program will have such a substantial positive impact on Rhode Island's economy largely because so much of the user fees will be paid by out-of-state trucks, who currently use our infrastructure but pay next to nothing to maintain it."
The REMI study looked at eight different scenarios over an 11-year period based on different financing plans (tolls or tolls plus some gasoline taxes or diesel taxes) and whether the program includes federal funding of $400 million to build the Route 6/10 Transit system. Additional regional effects were also modeled and included cost savings from avoided closings and postings of bridges and the creation of a benefits program for the trucking industry.
The study concluded that the full RhodeWorks project, including 6-10 Transit and toll-based funding, will add 6,487 new jobs, $538 million in gross state product, $521 million in personal income, and $344 million in real disposable personal income - putting money directly in the pockets of Rhode Islanders.
In comparison to the full RhodeWorks project, the gas tax scenario created slightly greater jobs impacts, but lower gains in real disposable personal income for Rhode Islanders due to increased taxes on consumers. The Governor has made it clear she does not want to place the burden on the people of Rhode Island - or make Rhode Island more of an outlier. Rhode Island already has one of the highest gas taxes in the country, and gas tax revenue is declining every year. Additionally, gas tax is not a reliable source of funding as more people switch to energy efficient vehicles or seek cheaper gas across the border in Massachusetts.
REMI is an independent company with offices in Amherst, MA and Washington, DC that provides economic analysis and dynamic macroeconomic models to clients globally. They develop regional forecasting and policy analysis models to inform and improve the quality of public policy decisions.
The full study can be found in the link below.