September 13, 2011

Whitehouse, Reed Announce $15 Million in Economic Development Assistance for RI

flood cranstonWASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today announced that Rhode Island will receive $15,063,164 in federal funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to help the state recover from the historic floods of 2010.   The federal grants will help fund key roadway, sewer, and water infrastructure improvements that are designed to save jobs and help alleviate future flooding.
Reed and Whitehouse secured this emergency economic recovery funding in the Fiscal Year 2010 Supplemental Appropriations disaster relief bill.  The $15 million figure represents an increase of more than $4 million from the initial allocation announced by EDA earlier this year and reflects the need for assistance and the quality of the applications that have been put forward.
“These needed infrastructure improvements will put Rhode Islanders to work and help ensure businesses stay open,” said Senator Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee who helped create this pool of funding for Rhode Island.  “This is about disaster recovery and economic recovery.  These EDA grants will save and create jobs while providing much needed support to help Rhode Island rebuild and prevent future flooding.  While this funding will not address every need or fund every project, EDA deserves great credit for increasing the allocation to the state.”
“Our state has worked hard to rebuild in the wake of last year’s floods and has made tremendous progress, but for many cities and towns, work still remains,” said Whitehouse.  “These funds will help us continue our recovery efforts, and will also help minimize the damage of future disasters.”
“President Obama is committed to providing immediate relief to Americans who are struggling and this infusion of Federal funding to Rhode Island will do just that,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez.  “This latest Administration investment of over $15 million will enhance local economic recovery efforts and position the state to promote small business development and job creation strategies.”
After holding public workshop on its grant process back in March 2011, EDA  chose the 8 projects through a competitive awards process from applicants across the state.  Criteria for the selection of projects included strong local leadership, significant private sector leverage, and a significant number of jobs that will be created as part of the federal investment.
The following projects have been chosen to receive a portion of the allocated funding:
$5 million to the East Providence Waterfront District Commission to renovate an existing manufacturing building at 10 New Road in East Providence to accommodate the relocation of Eaton Corporation, a critical manufacturer of components used in the aeronautics industry.
$2,960,320 to Bristol to build a culvert (a device to channel water) that will protect businesses from flooding in the Franklin corridor, including those operating in the Bristol Industrial Park.
$2,495,072 to Westerly to make critical roadway and drainage system improvements to serve businesses located along White Rock Road and Canal Street.
$2,170,812 to Coventry to make sewer infrastructure improvements to serve business and industry located within the Industrial Drive Industrial Park and along Flat River Road.
$1.5 million to Providence to provide a closed loop rail line that will be used by businesses within the Port of Providence to offload coal and other raw materials.
$721,360 to the Warwick Sewer Authority to help build a new pumping station that will help protect businesses in the Pawtuxet Industrial Park from future flooding.
$140,000 to the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency of Cranston to help develop a long-term economic development strategy that will prevent and mitigate the impact of future natural disasters and major emergencies that may affect Rhode Island.
$75,600 to West Warwick to assist in the development of a drainage study that will provide recommendations to mitigate the impact of future flood events on the local business community.
To date, Rhode Island has received approximately $200 million in federal aid to help families, businesses, and communities that were hit by the historic March 2010 floods.

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921