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By Mark Reynolds February 28, 2016

Raimondo is moving down the road with Rhody Pass

During her campaign for governor,Gina Raimondo pledged to attract more riders to the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, and she also promised to improve the transit experience with mobile phone apps, better branding and strategic marketing.

When we checked in on the administration's progress toward these goals, a representative of the Rhode Island Commerce Corp. referred us to something called "Rhody Pass."

Rhody Pass is an idea that came out of the Brookings Institution's "Rhode Island Innovates" report.

Brookings describes the Rhody Pass as an "app-based" ticket option that reduces fares and offers greater convenience to "occasional" and "off-peak" riders. And if later, commuter train service is expanded, the Rhody Pass could be offered to daily commuters.

An article for the governor's proposed budget calls for $1.5 million in spending on "Rhody Pass."

A Commerce Corp. spokeswoman, Kayla Rosen, told us that Rhody Pass was envisioned as "a combination smartphone app and fare discount program that would make the rail connection between Boston and Rhode Island more seamless and affordable."

"We are currently in discussions with Amtrak and MBTA regarding the program," Rosen says, "And, again, the Governor has placed funding in her proposed budget for this purpose."

The governor's spokeswoman, Marie Aberger, told us that enhancing the commuter rail experience and bringing more people into the state is one way to build RIPTA ridership.

"If more people commute in by rail to Providence, there is also the chance that these folks will then hop on a RIPTA bus to complete the last leg of their journey and get to the front doors of their offices," she said.

Tuesday the Commerce Corp.'s board hired a firm to help solicit proposals for developing a transit hub near the Amtrak and commuter rail station south of the State House..

Time will tell if such improvements attract new riders to RIPTA.

It's clear that the administration has a way to go before it can say it followed through on these promises. But it's also clear that the wheels are turning. The rating is In The Works.

Updates on past Gina-Meter rulings

Roads and bridges: During her campaign for governor, Gina Raimondo promised to "establish a road and bridge funding formula to pay for ongoing maintenance so that our local roads never become as deteriorated and dilapidated as they are now."

We originally rated this promise In the Works. On Thursday, Feb. 11, Raimondo signed a new law establishing truck tolls, which corresponds with the administration's plan to fund needed bridge repairs by tolling trucks.
The updated rating on Raimondo's promise to establish a road and bridge funding formula is Promise Kept.

Minimum wage: Candidate Raimondo also promised to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 in 2015.

According to her campaign website, Raimondo promised to:  "Raise the minimum wage to $10.10 in 2015 and index it to inflation, guaranteeing that workers will have a wage that keeps pace with the changing costs of the goods and services they buy, regardless of which way the political winds are blowing."

In June of 2015, Raimondo signed a law that raised the minimum wage to $9.60. And is again proposing this year to raise the minimum wage again to $10.10 an hour.

But the governor has dropped her indexing proposal.  The In the Works ruling is changed to a compromise.


Our Sources

Article to appropriate Raimondo's proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, "Art 1, RELATED TO MAKING APPROPRIATIONS IN SUPPORT OF FY2017," accessed Feb. 22, 2016., "RI Transportation: Rhody Pass Plan in budget would streamline Rhode Island to Boston train service," Feb. 7, 2016.

Kayla Rosen, spokeswoman, Rhode Island Commerce Corp., email, Feb. 22, 2016., "Rhode Island Innovates: A competitive strategy for the Ocean State," January 2016, accessed Feb. 23, 2016., Gina-Meter, "Truck Tolls to pay for infrastructure improvements," May 28, 2015, accessed Feb. 16.

Marie Aberger, press secretary, Office of Gov. Gina Raimondo, email Feb.16, 2016.,, "Compromise may be looming in Raimondo's minimum wage pledge," April 5, 2015., "Raimondo signs legislation into law raising RI minimum wage to $9.60 an hour," June 17, 2015, accessed Feb. 22, 2016., "Raimondo seeks to raise minimum wage, boost RI earned income tax credit," Jan. 29, 2016, accessed Feb. 16, 2016.

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