Infrastucture Bank versus baseball stadium

Rhode Island needs an infrastructure bank. And while the details are not 100% worked out there is much to recommend in the Governor and General Treasurer’s Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank proposal. Hopefully the details will create a workable infrastructure for the bank, but today lets focus on the idea.

If you take a good hard look at where the RI economy is going, we are in a very low growth phase. The conditions for rapid economic growth do not exist in Rhode Island, and cutting taxes for the rich and dismantling environmental and health regulations are not going to get us there. Given the low growth conditions, the only way to improve the well being of most Rhode Islanders is to create a healthy and resilient infrastructure designed specifically to help our communities respond properly to the climate change, food insecurity, and rising inequality that are currently haunting us.

It really is that simple. So I want to contrast the public investment in infrastructure with the proposal to build a baseball stadium on the Providence waterfront. In the May 3 Providence Journal there is a lengthy article detailing that the proposed baseball stadium would undo all of the efforts to properly manage stormwater throughout the I-195 lands because they would no longer have green open space to absorb water. And it would cost millions to move the stormwater infrastructure already in place.

The people of RI in this case are given a very contrasting set of choices. On one hand give $120 million of the public’s money to some people to build a baseball stadium that would contribute mightily to increasing the cost of managing stormwater, or investing the public’s money in Green Infrastructure that increases community resilience and safety, helps us cope with climate change, and creates more new jobs than a baseball stadium moving jobs that are now a mere 5 miles away. Of course these are not our only choices, but if the people of RI are investing in construction, it is pretty clear which one benefits us more. Support the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank.

One thought on “Infrastucture Bank versus baseball stadium

  1. The Economic Impact of Investing in Baseball Stadiums
    Blackstone Valley Tourism Council
    Wednesday, May 13, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM (EDT)
    Blackstone Valley Visitor Center Theater
    175 Main Street
    Pawtucket, Rhode Island

    Press Contact: BVTC Public Affairs, 401-724-2200

    Weblink:
    http://www.blackstonevalleytourismcouncil.org/matheson.htm

    Details:

    The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council will host economics professor Victor Matheson, from the College of the Holy Cross, on May 13 to discuss public investment in the construction of sports complexes.

    Matheson has studied taxpayer-subsidized ballparks for years. He’ll talk about mixed-use sports facilities, projections for stadium attendance and the overall economic impact that a new stadium may or may not bring to a community and surrounding businesses.

    Professor Matheson’s FREE presentation comes as Rhode Island public officials are considering plans by the new ownership of the Pawtucket Red Sox to move the baseball club and build a new stadium in downtown Providence.

    Professor Matheson will explain his research on the planned move by the Paw Sox. Recently, Professor Matheson was quoted by several news media stating that moving the team from McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket to Providence was “an absolutely silly economic idea. It makes no sense from the state’s standpoint to move the team five miles from Pawtucket to Providence,” he said.

    Please make coverage arrangements by contacting the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council at 401-724-2200
    END

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