At a Board meeting of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) this afternoon, Governor Lincoln Chafee announced that the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) will launch a study of Rhode Island transportation programs administered by state agencies and quasi-public entities. The purpose of the study is to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of specific activities, review the organizational structures and management of transportation programs, forecast future revenue and expenditure growth, and make recommendations for improvements. The Governor called for the creation of OMB in his Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal.
The study will result in a report recommending options for changes to transportation programs and operations, organizational structure and management, and funding and expenditures. The report will include short-term recommendations for the FY13 supplemental and FY14 budget request, as well as longer-term proposals to improve efficiency and transportation outcomes.
"One of my key priorities as Governor is fixing government so it provides the best possible service at the lowest possible cost for the people of Rhode Island," Governor Chafee said. "Government should work efficiently and effectively, and we will continue to focus on areas where that is, unfortunately, not occurring. We have seen tremendous progress at the DMV, and now we are bringing the same approach to transportation in our state. The first step is addressing the immediate financial challenges at RIPTA, but beyond that we need a long-term transportation strategy that is fiscally responsible, forward-looking, and plans for the future. I look forward to OMB's work in this area."
"I am very excited to have RIPTA be a part of this transportation study," said Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, Chairman of the RIPTA Board. "Governor Chafee has re-committed himself to an effective, efficient public transportation system within the State of Rhode Island. We at RIPTA stand ready and willing to work with him on making the necessary changes to strengthen our commitment to mass transit in Rhode Island."
OMB's immediate priority is RIPTA's projected $8-million FY13 deficit. OMB will work closely with the RIPTA Board and the Bureau of Audits to review the agency's progress in complying with the findings of past audits and management studies, as well as review other aspects of operations and finance as necessary with the goal of quickly addressing and minimizing the projected deficit with minimum interruption to service.
The study will also include the development of transportation revenue and expenditure projections to determine out-year budgetary needs and review alternate funding mechanisms. OMB will conduct a review of all sources of revenue and expenditures, as well as:
· Determine the impact of the recently enacted Federal transportation reauthorization (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21) on funding streams for state transportation programs;
· Review fare subsidy programs within RIPTA for both public and non-profit clients; and
· Analyze expenditure growth trends within RIPTA and RIDOT, with particular focus on cost growth comparison of similar functions to determine whether one agency may adopt best practices of another.
By statute, the study will also include:
· Review of bridge, vehicle, and winter maintenance program efficiencies and effectiveness;
· Examination of the various organizational structures in other states;
· Development of a strategic plan that outlines the mission, goals, the estimated cost and timelines to implement recommendations, and the federal and state mandates associated with the current programs; and
· Identification of outcome measures and an appropriate timeline to measure implementation progress.