The 1,100-space structure at South Kingstown’s Wickford Junction train station is not even 10 percent full on the best of days, little more than a year after the Mass. Bay Transportation Authority extended its commuter-rail service south from T.F. Green Airport.
The parking spaces in the 640-space garage at the Interlink in Warwick aren’t getting filled up, either, according to state officials. In both cases the reason is simple: Ridership on the 10 trains a day traveling to and from Providence is not only failing to grow, it actually has shrunk in the last year.
In both cases the money spent – $44 million on the Wickford garage and $267 million on the entire Interlink project – was public investment in infrastructure. Economic conditions may not have turned Providence into a job-creation machine for the moment, one that would make taking the train downtown a pleasant and economically viable alternative to sitting in traffic on Interstate 95 or Route 4.
But as the state and national economies continue their turnaround, that day will arrive. •