The Providence, R.I., City Council on Thursday backed Mayor Angel Taveras’ proposed bond referendum to pay for $40 million worth of citywide street and sidewalk paving.
The council, which voted 12 to 0 and must approve the measure a second time, defeated an amendment that would allocate roughly half the money by political wards. Providence has 15 wards.
Should the measure pass muster with the council, it would go the voters in Rhode Island’s capital city on Nov. 6.
The city would repair the worst streets first, based on an Army Corps of Engineers study.
“Our roads need to be improved. Our work needs to be done citywide and based on the condition of the roads, and not bogged down in politics,” Taveras told television station WPRI.
Taveras had threatened to veto the measure.
“Once the council members got a chance to ask some questions and get those questions answered, it was a lot clearer that this was a much better option,” said council member Luis Aponte.
Providence, whose population is 178,042, reached a tentative landmark deal in the spring with major unions to reduce pension and health care benefits.
The city received multiple bond rating downgrades from Moody’s Investors Service, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s over the last two years.
Moody’s rates the city’s general obligation bonds Baa1, while Fitch and Standard & Poor’s each assign BBB.