Rhode Island Senate holds hearing with RIPTA CEO after calling for him to step down

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Senate President Dominick Ruggerio called for Rhode Island Public Transit Authority’s CEO, Scott Avedesian, to step down from his role just weeks ago, on Feb. 17. 

“I just think we need a transit professional in the state that really knows transit,” Senate President Dominick Ruggerio told ABC 6 News. 

A meeting that was held Monday night aired out the concerns from the state Senate to RIPTA’s leadership. 

“It was good to be able to answer questions and to make sure that everyone knows exactly what’s going on with the financial situation at RIPTA,” Scott Avedesian, the CEO said. 

The financial situation was a hot topic, and a major area of concern for Ruggerio.  

“In three years, they only spent half of the $128 million that they mentioned, my question is why, and now they’re asking us to give them anywhere 33 to 42 million, I want to know what they did with the other money,” he said. 

Avedesian added, “Falling gas tax revenues are not easy to make up and then of course the lack of the cares act money and the ARPA money going forward is going to be problematic.”

The Senate also brought up the driver shortage issues that changed many bus routes last fall even displacing students from getting to school.  

RIPTA reported 44 positions open at the meeting Monday, adding that a full staff of fixed route drivers, and para transit drivers would add up to 424. 

“We need to hire more drivers, and we’ll do, will take any possible ability to make things work better,” Avedesian said. 

The Senate feels they have more digging to do, with the finances front of mind. 

“We still have some questions and I think some of the members of the committee have questions, and I think some of the people on The Senate finance committee will have questions,” Ruggerio said. 

He also told ABC 6 there is no confirmation of a further hearing at this point. 

Categories: News, Rhode Island