According to the Federal Department of Transportation, the Program Purpose:
The FAST Act continued the CMAQ program to provide a flexible funding source to State and local governments for transportation projects and programs to help meet the requirements of the Clean Air Act. Funding is available to reduce congestion and improve air quality for areas that do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone, carbon monoxide, or particulate matter (nonattainment areas) and for former nonattainment areas that are now in compliance (maintenance areas).
Statutory citation: FAST Act § 1114; 23 U.S.C. 149
Additionally, budget/contract authority is derived from the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund.
When reached for comment, as to the process/analysis used to arrive at Pawsox Games as a legitimate recipient of the funds, RIPTA issued the following statement
"It was an internal process that involved at looking at a number of factors including – a desire to provide a seasonal service that would be attractive to both residents and tourists, as well as the need to come up with something that was finite, relatively short distance and not disruptive to our existing fixed-route schedule."
Frank Carini of EcoRI.org :
"I would prefer to see the funds used for programs with lasting impact, say, dedicated bike lanes or public transportation infrastructure ... than being used to shuttle people back and forth to a ballgame for a team owned by wealthy individuals"
Dr. Peter Nightingale, Professor of Physics of The University of Rhode Island:
As is the case so very often, the beneficiaries of our laws and programs are the 1%, who already have enough. People in need are left to go without.
Robert Malin - Fossil Free Rhode Island
We need to modernize our transportation system to minimize our reliance on fossil fuels. I fail to see how giving rides to a baseball game qualifies. There are so many other priorities.
At a time when the "Free Ride Program" for the elderly & infirm was suspended due to alleged budget constraints ... The question begs ... at what point does the corporate welfare trail end for the Pawtucket Red Sox?
History of the FAST Act
Using CMAQ Funds for Transit & Public Transportation Projects
Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality Improvement Program