The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), the worldwide association representing toll facility owners and operators and the businesses that serve them, honored Earl J. “Buddy” Croft III, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) with the association’s Lifetime Honorary Membership Award at a ceremony last week in Baltimore, Maryland.

“I am honored to be recognized for this prestigious achievement by my colleagues with the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association,” said Croft. “Over the last several decades of service, I have seen the tolling industry change and evolve in exciting new ways. Tolling and transportation leaders are striving to meet the demands of our customers. We have delivered world class transportation and mobility to customers not only throughout Rhode Island, but across the country and the globe. I thank IBTTA and my fellow colleagues in the industry for this important recognition.”

On Tuesday, October 16th during IBTTA’s 86th Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Baltimore, Maryland, IBTTA Executive Director and CEO Patrick D. Jones presented the award bestowing the honor of lifetime membership to Rhode Island’s Buddy Croft.

“Buddy’s lifetime of service to the tolling industry has been invaluable to our association and we’re honored to be able to recognize his years of leadership with this prestigious Lifetime Honorary Membership Award,” said Patrick D. Jones, Executive Director and CEO of IBTTA. “The Lifetime Honorary Membership Award is the highest honor our association can bestow on a member and speaks to the special place Buddy occupies in the history of transportation and tolling. The people of Rhode Island and drivers throughout the country have benefited because of Buddy Croft’s leadership and on behalf of our worldwide membership we thank him for his distinguished and dedicated service.”

Earl J. “Buddy” Croft III is the Executive Director for the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority, where he is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority.

Previously Croft was the Chief of Staff of the Rhode Island Family Court, where he was responsible for supervision of approximately 150 employees, as well as overseeing a budget, personnel, public relations, grant funding and administrative matters of Court. He also served as the Drug Court and Truancy Court Coordinator and the Director of Intergovernmental Relations.
Buddy serves on the Executive Board of the E-ZPass Interagency Group and is a Past President of IBTTA. Buddy served previously as the Vice Chairman for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) and the Chair, Fundraising/Development Committee for NADCP. He holds a BA in Political Science from Providence College. Buddy has four children,
eleven grandchildren and resides in Rhode Island with his wife, Shelly.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.