On Monday, U.S. Senator Jack Reed and U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen toured some of Rhode Island’s key port infrastructure and met with marine shipping leaders in Newport and Providence.
First, Senator Reed and Administrator Jaenichen traveled to Newport Shipyard, where they inspected a new Marine Travel Lift, which was purchased with a recent $744,990 Small Shipyards Grant. They also received a tour of the shipyard from Charlie Dana and Eli Dana, the shipyard’s General Manager and Dock Master. As the Ranking Member of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Reed led the effort to restore federal funding for the Small Shipyard Grant Program in the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations law and helped secure the grant money for the Marine Travel Lift in April of this year.
Senator Reed and Administrator Jaenichen then headed to ProvPort in Providence, where they met with Governor Gina Raimondo and port officials at 11:30 a.m. for a press conference to discuss the TIGER Grant Crane and Barge Project and to christen a new, 300 foot $7.4 million barge.
Senator Reed joined Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and others for a live performance at City Hall to kick off this year's PVDFest in Providence. Now in its second year, PVDFest is a four-day outdoor party in downtown Providence that features music, art, dancing, poetry, theater, food trucks, and more from artists from Rhode Island and around the world. About 100,000 people were estimated to attend this year's festival, which featured over 500 artists, 13 stages, 30 food trucks, and the attendence of 11 local arts organizations.
Senator Reed joined Mayor Jorge Elorza and community partners at City Hall in Providence in recognition of National Gun Violence Awareness Day. The group, who took part in the "Wear Orange" campaign to raise awarenss about gun violence, gathered to address the growing problem of gun violence in America and discuss commonsense gun control laws that would reduce the number of deaths from firearms. Senator Reed and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) are currently working to pass legislation that would designate June as National Gun Violence Awareness Month and June 2 as National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
To celebrate the successful construction and operation of the state-of-the-art Glycol Recovery and Treatment Facility, Senator Reed helped lead a tour of T.F. Green Airport’s new glycol processing facility and discussed its economic and environmental benefits. The $33.2 million facility processes propylene glycol, a substance used in cold weather to prevent the buildup of ice on planes. The excess glycol, which at one time flowed with stormwater runoff into the surrounding area, now goes to the processing plant, where it is broken down into water and methane gas and used as a heat source for the facility. Senator Reed has led efforts to work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on plans to invest approximately $110 million in upgrading T.F. Green Airport and expanding the runway. In April, he helped pass a long-term reauthorization of the FAA to enhance airport security and airline safety while protecting consumers and keeping needed upgrades to T.F. Green and other airports on schedule. T.F. Green Airport is one of only three airports in the country with a state-of-the-art system for glycol recovery and treatment.
Vice President Biden, Senator Reed Speak in Rhode Island About the Importance of Infrastructure Funding
Vice President Joe Biden visited Rhode Island on Friday, where he joined Senator Reed, Governor Raimondo, Senator Whitehouse, Congressman Langevin, and Congressman Cicilline at an event discussing efforts to improve infrastructure in Rhode Island. The Vice President voiced his approval of how Rhode Island is taking action to invest in the state's roads and bridges. Senator Reed spoke about the economic advantages of investing in Rhode Island's infrastructure and discussed other efforts at the federal level to bring improvement projects to Rhode Island.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed brought Dr. Linda Birnbaum, a preeminent toxicologist who is the head of the National Institute for Environment Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP), to Rhode Island to meet with community and state leaders about lead poisoning prevention, reforming our nation’s chemical laws, and enhancing environmental health.
Senator Reed, who has been a champion for lead poisoning prevention, and Dr. Birnbaum, who oversees federal policy for biomedical research to discover how the environment influences human health and disease, led a forum on the causes, impacts, and mitigation of lead, toxic chemicals, and other environmental health hazards. They were joined by Jim Vincent, President of the NAACP Providence Branch, as well as several Providence-area students and members of the NAACP Providence Branch Youth Council who had returned from volunteering in Flint, Michigan, where they assisted local families that were hit by the water crisis.
Later in the day, Senator Reed and Dr. Birnbaum went to Brown University, where they met with researchers from the university’s Superfund Research Program (SRP) to discuss ways to improve health outcomes for Rhode Islanders who are exposed to environmental toxins. The SRP is one of several research projects in Rhode Island funded by the NIEHS, which recently renewed funding for “Toxicant Exposures in Rhode Island: Past, Present, and Future,” an SRP program that focuses on complex environmental contaminant issues in Rhode Island.
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