WHEREAS, RIPTA's URI-WESTERLY Route #67 is the sole source of transportation for many students, staff and faculty who commute daily to the University of Rhode Island from the rural areas of the state; and
WHEREAS, Besides the 7 A.M. Providence commuter bus, the small RIPTA URI van is the only service in the entire South County area, and its ridership has increased steadily since it first went into operation just one year ago; and
WHEREAS, Expanded RIPTA service, made possible in large part through federal funding, has led to increased ridership, especially to and from Westerly and other South County locations. At the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, ridership has increased more than 368% in one year. The growth is attributed to the introduction of more extensive day and evening service to and from Providence, and discounted month and semester-long passes; and
WHEREAS, University of Rhode Island officials are currently proposing a transportation fee that could be used in part to offset the cost of the Westerly route. The fee would also provide funds for parking, lighting and other transportation improvements at the University; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby respectfully requests that the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority preserve URI-Westerly Route #67. At a time when economic and environmental concerns necessitate a greater reliance on public transportation, it makes little sense to eliminate a bus route to a rapidly expanding area of the state whose ridership is growing exponentially; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to the Director of the Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority.