Rhode Island plans portal
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Jul 11, 2001
Rhode Island plans to unveil a portal this fall with several online interactive
services, after making a deal with an NIC subsidiary.
Under the five-year agreement, New England Interactive, the subsidiary that
also operates Maine's state government portal, would develop and maintain
the customizable site at no cost to the state. The company would recoup
its investment by charging fees for certain transactions, said Barbara Weaver,
Rhode Island's chief information officer.
This summer, she said, the state will conduct user surveys among its departments
and the public to find out what services people want. But she said several
agencies, including the motor vehicle, health and environmental management
departments, already are planning to offer interactive services, such as
vehicle registration renewals and hunting, fishing and boating licenses.
Its first transactional service, she said, would be providing insurance
companies access to drivers' records. "When insurance companies...issue
insurance to a driver, they need to find out whether the driver has any
accident or police record," Weaver said. "Many of the states already provide
this information online and in real time, and Rhode Island hasn't done that
The insurance companies would be charged a fee, which the state is calling
an "enhanced-access fee," she said, adding that insurance representatives
are willing to pay for such services on demand.
Weaver said it is unlikely that fees would be charged for services that
benefit the general public, such as motor vehicle registrations. "My mantra
is "The people of Rhode Island ought to get their money's worth from state
government.' We think online access is going to make a big difference for
In any case, all proposed fees would have to be approved by the Information
Resource Management Board, which acts like a citizen review board, Weaver
The state chose NIC following a competitive bidding process that began last
fall. She said the state thought about developing the portal on its own,
but didn't have the money. Rhode Island's portal becomes the 15th state
portal that NIC will build and manage.