March 12, 2024

Whitehouse Wins $59.2 Million in Direct Investment for Rhode Island in Minibus Appropriations Package

Whitehouse-supported earmarks will create jobs, protect our environment and air, and improve quality of life in the Ocean State

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today announced that more than $59.2 million will soon be en route to Rhode Island to support a total of 38 local projects, ranging from public safety to environmental quality to affordable housing to workforce development.  Whitehouse voted on Friday to pass a bipartisan minibus package of six fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills.  President Biden signed the minibus into law on Saturday.

“I’m pleased to bring home tens of millions of dollars to invest in projects and communities all across the Ocean State,”said Whitehouse.“These direct investments will advance on-the-ground efforts by local organizations and community leaders to create opportunity for Rhode Islanders, protect public safety, upgrade key infrastructure, and harden the Ocean State against climate change.”  

Some of the smaller examples of Whitehouse-backed earmarks include:

  • $750,000 for The Nature Conservancy to support restoration efforts for the shoreline and bluff at Crescent Park

Without intervention, the bluff and shore at Crescent Park in Riverside will continue to erode.  This earmark funding will support much-needed restoration efforts at Crescent Park that support coastal resilience and preserve public access for the thousands of annual visitors to the park, which is home to the historic Looff Carousel.

“Coastal communities across New England are looking for new, nature-based solutions to coastal erosion that preserve public access to the shoreline and enhance fish and wildlife habitat,” said Sue AnderBois, Director of Climate and Government Relations at The Nature Conservancy in Rhode Island. “TNC is grateful to Senator Whitehouse for his consistent leadership on climate and coastal resilience.  We’re excited to see how we can continue to support East Providence.”

  • $210,000 for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to improve air monitoring systems

Despite marked improvements in air quality over the last few decades, historically marginalized communities across America continue to be overburdened by pollution, especially in downwind states like Rhode Island.  Effective air quality monitoring systems help guard against public health threats triggered by air pollution.  This earmark funding will invest in mobile monitoring equipment to better track the sources of pollution.

“The Department of Environmental Management is committed to environmental justice and better serving the needs of all Rhode Island communities,”said DEM Director Terry Gray.“This earmark will fund portable and mobile air monitoring equipment that will enable us to detect hazardous air pollution in areas such as the Port of Providence and the city’s South Side, neighborhoods whose residents suffer from some of the state’s highest rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses.  DEM appreciates Senator Whitehouse’s and his staff’s advocacy for securing such important community funding.

  • $200,000 for the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) to expand its Fiberglass Vessel Recycling Program

An increasing number of fiberglass boats reach their end of life without a sustainable option for disposal each year.  RIMTA’s Fiberglass Vessel Recycling Project sustainably disposes of fiberglass boats by dismantling and re-processing fiberglass hulls into cement.  This earmark funding will help divert approximately 60 tons of fiberglass boats away from landfills to be used in the cement production process and support local jobs in the maritime industry. 

“The RIMTA Foundation is grateful for the ongoing efforts of Senator Whitehouse to position Rhode Island as a leader in the blue economy and to invest in the protection of our oceans,”saidRIMTA Executive Director Brian Dursi.“With this funding, the RI Fiberglass Vessel Recycling Program looks forward to expanding the initiative outlined in the Save Our Seas Act 2.0 of derelict vessel recycling.”

A full list of Whitehouse-backed CDS requests that were funded is available here.

The minibus legislation also includes a number of other Whitehouse priorities, including $420 million for programs created by Whitehouse’s Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act; $32 million for the Whitehouse-created National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund; $20 million to implement the Law Enforcement Officer De-escalation Training Act that Whitehouse led; $40 million for the National Estuary Program; and $5 million for recycling grants authorized by the Save Our Sea 2.0 Act.

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921