Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Seth Magaziner and Gabe Amo along with Governor Dan McKee today announced that the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has been awarded a major $81 million federal grant to establish a new connection from I-95 to Quonset Business Park.
The Infrastructure for Rebuilding America Grant, also known as an INFRA Grant, will fund the completion of the final link between Rhode Island’s Interstate 95 and Route 4, which will establish a direct freeway connection at one of the state’s busiest junctions for commercial and passenger traffic. Funding will also support the creation of three missing ramps to improve access for truck and freight operators approaching Quonset Business Park, a major industrial park that is home to more than 200 companies and 14,000 jobs.
“This is a smart investment in growing Rhode Island’s economy, improving traffic flow, and helping thousands of Rhode Islanders get to and from work quicker and more efficiently. This was a collaborative effort that took many years and I was pleased to help lay the groundwork for it by securing a $4 million planning grant in 2022. I’m also grateful to Secretary Buttigieg and his staff for working with us to help get it across the finish line,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) who worked with his colleagues to include $7.25 billion for competitive INFRA grants over five years through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. “By securing federal investments like this, I will continue working to help Quonset continue to add jobs, new businesses, and attract private investment to power Rhode Island’s economy and plan for the future.”
“The INFRA program I championed through the Environment and Public Works Committee and into law continues to deliver for the Ocean State, with nearly $300 million on the ground supporting major job-creating infrastructure projects across Rhode Island,” said Senator Whitehouse, who worked to create the INFRA Program in 2015 to help meet Rhode Island’s need for large-scale infrastructure investments. “This is the second-largest INFRA grant Rhode Island has received, and the largest to date for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. The investment will provide a huge boost for the continued growth of Quonset Business Park and make driving in southern Rhode Island more convenient and less congested for drivers.”
“This project will strengthen Rhode Island’s economy and cut commutes for thousands of Rhode Islanders,” said Rep. Seth Magaziner. “I am proud to be a part of a congressional delegation so focused on making sure Rhode Island gets our fair share of federal resources for important initiatives like this one.”
“Rhode Island is primed to lead the way in upgrading our infrastructure, spurring regional economic growth, and ensuring that we are doing everything we can to combat climate change, thanks in large part to a Democratic Congress passing into law the Biden-Harris Investing in America agenda and the hard work of my colleagues,” said Congressman Gabe Amo. “This project will improve congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create good-paying jobs, and increase accessibility to Quonset Business Park for all Rhode Islanders and travelers in our state. I look forward to its completion.”
“With over 14,000 jobs at more than 225 companies, Quonset is the leading engine of job creation and economic development in Rhode Island,”
For decades, Rhode Island drivers have had to navigate a long and windy road to get from Route 4 and Interstate 95 to Quonset. When it is completed by RIDOT, this project will allow drivers to travel directly from Route 4 to I-95 in all directions and to key sections of the 3,200-acre Quonset Business Park, home to over 225 businesses and counting. It will also help keep industry freight traffic off of local roads, reducing congestion, noise, and pollution in residential neighborhoods, while creating more accessibility and growth opportunities for the industrial zone around Quonset. RIDOT estimates that the project will collectively reduce approximately 500 metric tons of greenhouse gases per year.
“For decades travelers in Rhode Island have had to get off I-95 and wind their way to Route 4 on local roads. With this connection, they can travel seamlessly,” said RIDOT Director Peter Alviti.
The Quonset Business Park contains Rhode Island’s only publicly owned port, the Port of Davisville, which is one of the nation’s largest points of import of new automobiles. According to the 2023 Report on the Economic Impact of Quonset Business Park, Quonset generates $5.9 billion in economic output — representing roughly 8.3 percent of the state’s GDP – and $1.7 billion in household income for Rhode Island families. Quonset also generates about $169 million in state and local tax revenue annually.
The report projects that by 2030, Quonset will host 17,000 jobs and generate $7.2 billion in economic output, including $2.1 billion in household income for Rhode Island families.
Over the years, RIDOT has worked closely with its partner, the Quonset Development Corporation (QDC), on the project. Construction of the series of new interchanges, ramps, and improved connections will have an estimated total cost of $135 million, according to RIDOT and will improve safety and freight connectivity.
“This infrastructure project will make it even more convenient for the more than 14,000 people who work at the Business Park to get to work and for our 239 companies to receive and ship materials and products,” said Steven J. King, P.E., Managing Director of the Quonset Development Corporation. “The new ramps on Route 403 that are part of this project will also make it even easier and more efficient for people and businesses to access West Davisville. Our momentum at Quonset is largely due to the consistent support of our Congressional delegation and state leadership and we appreciate their continued commitment to Quonset’s success.”
First authorized in 2015 as the FASTLANE grant program, the INFRA discretionary grant program provides funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for large-scale highway and multimodal projects that might otherwise stall without additional federal support. Rhode Island previously received a $60.3 million INFRA grant in 2019 to rebuild the Northbound Providence Viaduct; a $65 million INFRA grant in 2020 to overhaul Route 146; and a $82.5 million INFRA grant in 2022 to upgrade the Pell Bridge.
Chip Unruh (Reed), (202) 224-4642
Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921
James Kwon (Magaziner), (202) 951-0315
Dylan Sodaro (Amo), (202) 225-4911