North Kingstown, RI – Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation today announced that the Quonset Development Corporation will receive over $22.3 million in federal Recovery Act funding to help create green jobs, develop alternative energy sources, and alleviate highway congestion.
The Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant will be used to make infrastructure upgrades at the Quonset Business Park, including road, pier, and freight improvements which will increase port capacity. These improvements will help make Quonset a manufacturing hub for wind turbines and, according to Deepwater Wind, which is building a regional off-shore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island, could help create up to 800 jobs at Quonset.
The federal aid will also position the Port of Davisville to participate in the new U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) Marine Highway Northeast Corridor – with short sea shipping alleviating the need to move goods via highways. Quonset is a transportation hub on the Northeast Corridor and is well situated to divert freight traffic from congested Interstates to sea and/or rail, making container barge feeder service viable.
The entire Congressional delegation wrote a letter of support for Quonset’s application.
“This is an exciting announcement that will help put Rhode Island at the forefront of a new energy future. It is a win for the state because it will help create up to 800 green jobs at Quonset and a win for the nation because it will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Senator Jack Reed, who over the years has directed more than $142 million in federal funding for upgrades at Quonset’s railways, airport, and infrastructure to help grow the local economy. “While this is a forwarding-looking investment in Rhode Island’s infrastructure, it is critical that Quonset and the state move quickly to ensure that this funding creates jobs as fast as possible.”
“I’m glad that working together we were able to deliver more than $20 million in federal funds for the ongoing development of Quonset Point,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “This funding will help our state harness the potential of the new clean energy economy and put hundreds of Rhode Islanders to work in cutting edge industries.”
“Rhode Island has always been a center for manufacturing innovation, so it is fitting that our state takes a role as a leader in our country’s clean energy future,” said Congressman Patrick Kennedy. “Additionally, the creation of up to 800 jobs at Quonset is one of the significant infrastructure projects our state needs to put people back to work immediately.”
“I am thrilled that the Administration sees the same potential for Quonset to become a national leader in renewable energy with the awarding of this grant,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “These funds will directly invest in job creation that will support new and long-term economic growth in our state, while also promoting sustainable energy development. I could not be more pleased with this decision.”
Nearly 1,400 TIGER grant applications totaling $57 billion were submitted from across the country for a $1.5 billion pot of Recovery Act funding.
Strong applications were submitted for improvements at the Port of Providence and for the replacement of the Providence Viaduct on I-95. The delegation wrote U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in support of these projects as well, and met with the Secretary to advocate for all three requests. The delegation plans to continue to advocate for the remaining projects in the next round of grants.
A second round of competition will now begin for an additional $600 million in TIGER grant funding that Congress included in its 2010 transportation spending bill.