The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) today announced that Stephen C.  Waluk will resign from the RITBA board at the end of his term, which expires April 1, 2021.

Waluk, a Newport native, was appointed to the RITBA Board by Governor Donald Carcieri in 2005 and has been chairman since 2014. 

“I have appreciated the opportunity to serve my community and our state,” said Chairman  Waluk in a statement. “These bridges are critical infrastructure for the East Bay, and I hope that this board and  this administration will commit to ensuring that this agency remains independent and guided by  Rhode Islanders from this part of the state.” 

“Steve has been a valued asset to the Turnpike and Bridge Authority for nearly sixteen years and across four administrations,” said Lori Caron Silveira, Executive Director of RITBA in a statement. “His steadfast commitment to safety and fiscal responsibility as we have modernized our operations has been the hallmark of his tenure with this agency. His thoughtful guidance and wise counsel  will be greatly missed.” 

Mr. Waluk’s letter to Governor McKee is below;

Dear Governor McKee:

I am writing to inform you that my term on the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority expires on April 1, 2021. I will not be requesting reappointment and will be leaving my role as Chair and board member on that date. You are the fourth Governor under whom I have served on the RITBA board dating back to 2005 and I have had the good fortune to serve as board chair since 2014. We have done good work for Rhode Island and the East Bay region, always maintaining safety as our number one priority. 

Along with my fellow board members both past and present and RITBA staff we have modernized the organization moving from antiquated bridge tokens to using EZ-Pass and the potential for all electronic tolling. We installed a median barrier on the Newport Pell Bridge to keep our drivers safe by preventing head-on collisions. And we managed the authority in a fiscally prudent manner while holding the line on toll increases to benefit our daily commuters as well as visitors. There is still more work to be done but the authority is in very good hands. 

As you chart your own course for the State of Rhode Island I encourage you to maintain RITBA as a stand alone regional entity, I know you feel strongly about the importance of municipal and regional autonomy and RITBA is a great example of partnering with cities and towns to provide top quality service. Please consider maintaining local representation from the East Bay as you make future board appointments. 

It has been a great honor to serve along side the hardworking staff at RITBA. I wish you the best of luck in the many challenges you face as our new Governor.

Sincerely, 

Stephen C. Waluk 

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).