Rhode Island Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Administrator Carlos C. Machado this week recognized two divisions at the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) for excellence in helping to keep pedestrians safe and for prudent stewardship in closing out projects, often freeing up unspent dollars for use on other projects.
"RIDOT is a model for our country and our State is better because of the work they've done and will continue to do," FHWA Administrator Machado said. "As public servants, FHWA and RIDOT strive to give Rhode Islanders our very best. Our employees consistently demonstrate their dedication to Rhode Island's traveling public; their passion for the safety of our roadways and a great steward of the federal-aid funds."
"This recognition is well-deserved," RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. said. "These hard-working men and women at RIDOT routinely go above and beyond in the management of our transportation system, keeping people safe while managing our finances so we can continue to deliver our projects on time and on budget for Rhode Islanders."
The first FHWA Administrator Excellence in Teamwork Award was granted to RIDOT's Office of Safety for their work on a Statewide Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. It examined ways to improve safety at more than 700 state-maintained path, trail and bicycle crossings throughout the state. From that, RIDOT was able to establish recommendations for any necessary improvements at these crossings, whether further study was needed, to help identify costs for making the changes, and to feed into RIDOT's planning and asset management programs to ensure all the work is done and is properly maintained over time. It also led to the Department receiving a $1 million FHWA Accelerated Innovation Deployment grant to help pay for these safety improvements.
The second FHWA Administrator award was for RIDOT's Project Closeout and Inactive Project Monitoring efforts. RIDOT's Financial Management Division closely monitors the Department's projects and formally closes them out when it has determined all expenses for a project have been met. Some states leave old projects open for long periods of time, with funds tied to each. By keeping these project balances at zero, RIDOT is able to free up funds that can be used on other projects. The award noted RIDOT as a leader in this effort, having kept zero balances on inactive projects for five years in a row. In the past 7 years, this has resulted in $72.5 million being made available to fund additional projects and a faster delivery of projects in RIDOT's 10-year plan.