"Brandon S. Bell, chairman of the Republican State Central Committee, said that he has submitted a request for information to the Rhode Island Department of Administration under the state Access to Public Records Act.
The bridge was closed June 23, when Peter Alviti Jr., director of the state Department of Transportation, declared it to be in “imminent danger of collapse” amid a State House debate of Governor Raimondo’s controversial plan to impose tolls on certain commercial trucks in order to finance a large-scale campaign to repair roads and bridges.
Bell related that Mattiello wanted an explanation of the timing, which seemed to some people to be more than a coincidence. The GOP request for documents pertain to the Democratic governor’s “interactions” with the DOT “related to the closure."
After an initial declaration of concern about the timing, Mattiello said he wanted an investigation of why the DOT apparently took no action regarding the bridge even though an inspection last September found its structure to be in “intolerable” condition and deserving of “high priority of corrective action.” He said he wants to know who is to blame.
The Associated Press quoted Raimondo as having said there will be no investigation.
In an interview with The Providence Journal last week, and regarding DOT’s apparent inaction, Raimondo said the bridge was in poor condition for years before September and that the DOT is lacking for money. As for the timing, the DOT said the dangerous plight of the Cranston bridge was discovered by an engineering company under contract to the DOT — but working on its own schedule.
Bell said the Republicans will keep the speaker and the news media informed about their progress.