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Spotlight on the Statehouse: Feb. 10, 2016

Farewell, Buddy Cianci

The city of Providence bid farewell to its longest-serving mayor, Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, Jr. with a funeral service Monday. Despite the snowstorm, a crowd of around 100 gathered to watch the procession where Cianci’s casket was carried from City Hall to the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul.

Both Gov. Gina Raimondo and Mayor Jorge Elorza attended the funeral, where Cianci was eulogized as a talented politician and great leader. The years Cianci spent in federal prison were only referred to indirectly as “his time away” or his “life in New Jersey,” Turn to 10 reported.

A close friend of Cianci’s, former Mayor Joseph Paolino, spoke to the funeral attendees after the Mass.  “Buddy, we hope you are looking down today with pride, knowing that we — that Providence — will never stop caring about you,” he said.

Grants to improve public housing

Over 9,400 households residing in public housing in 25 Rhode Island cities will benefit from $12.9 million in grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI, announced Tuesday.

“This federal funding will help Rhode Island housing authorities preserve affordable housing, build stronger neighborhoods and put more contractors to work making necessary repairs,” Reed said in a Feb. 9 press release.   

The funds will also help “reduce poverty and homelessness and help local housing agencies make much-needed improvements to preserve their aging housing stock,” Reed said. Of the total amount awarded to the state, $3.6 million will be given to agencies in Providence.

‘Rhody Pass’ to help regular commuters

One of the proposals presented in Raimondo’s budget plan for next year is “Rhody Pass,” a new initiative that could make regular commuting between Providence and Boston much more convenient.

The budget allocates $1.5 million to the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to execute the Rhody Pass idea. While limited information has been released, Melissa Czerwein, spokeswoman of the Commerce Corporation, said it will “help create more interchangeable connectivity between the (MBTA) and Amtrak,” the Providence Journal reported.

Rhody Pass was proposed by the Brookings Institution, a think tank, as a way to help improve the Ocean State’s economy. Brookings described it as “app-based” and stated it will reduce fares for “business travelers entering the state,” the Journal reported.


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