A Hummel Report InvestigationHalfway through 2014 we pause to bring you updated information on several of our investigations - from the struggling Wickford Junction Train Station and challenges facing HealthSourceRI - to the latest in a Medicare fraud investigation we first reported on last month and a delayed bike path renovation project in Coventry.
Mid-way through 2014 we have important updates on several of our investigations -beginning with what so far has been the Big White Elephant known as The Wickford Train Station parking garage.
The Department of Transportation tells us that as of April, an average of 183 riders were taking the commuter rail from Wickford Junction every day. That’s slightly less than the 200 from a year ago.
But it’s the parking garage that should have taxpayers concerned. The $25 million, four-story, 1,100 space behemoth costs more than $600,000 a year to operate. The state needs to have 500 people a day park there to break a year ago only 83 a day were paying to park.
The DOT tells us parking is currently free - and effort to boost ridership - and the $53,000/ month management costs are being covered with a federal grant - in other words taxpayer money. DOT Director Michael Lewis, in repeated interviews with The Hummel Report, has said the train service will catch on if given enough time.
Last month we told you about federally-funded supplies for a disabled woman in the East Bay that were repeatedly showing up damaged. Our story prompted a Medicare fraud unit to launch its own investigation, with promises to fix the problem.
For nearly a year, the cans of formula Jodi Kelsey needs to feed her daughter Becky have arrived damaged - and unusable. Sometimes up to a third of the monthly shipment of 150 cans - shipped by a private company but paid for by the federal government - have been wasted.