Senate Minority Office

 

Senate passes Rogers bill on Municipal Sidewalk Maintenance

STATE HOUSE The Senate today passed legislation (2024-S 2019) introduced by Minority Whip Senator Gordon E. Rogers (R-Dist. 21, Foster, Coventry, Scituate, West Greenwich) that would require that all maintenance of sidewalks along state highways, with the exception of snow and ice removal, be the responsibility of the state.

Currently, the Director of Transportation has authority over sidewalks and curbs along state highways, but the burden of maintenance for those sidewalks lies primarily with the municipalities in which they are encompassed. This legislation transfers the responsibility for maintenance and repairs, with the exception for snow and ice removal, of sidewalks adjacent to state highways and roads to state government.

The Rhode League of Cities and Towns has expressed support for shifting the responsibility to the state in a letter to the House Finance Committee for similar legislation introduced in the House, citing, "that sidewalk maintenance is a vital public safety issue that should be addressed at the state level." Their key reasons for support include equity and consistency, public safety, financial relief for municipalities, and efficiency in maintenance.

Senator Rogers, who is Director of Public Works for the Town of Foster, stated, "This bill is crucial for public safety and essential for the equitable and consistent upkeep of sidewalks on state roads across varied and disparate municipal budget constraints."

"It makes sense that if a sidewalk is on a state road, it’s a state responsibility," said Senator Rogers. "With this legislation, we can level the playing field for municipalities, preserve infrastructure investments, and enhance pedestrian safety and accessibility."

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