PROVIDENCE, RI - After supporting efforts to invest $10.5 million in creating jobs and transforming the Port of Providence into a modern marine cargo center that will diversify shipping options in the region, Rhode Island's Congressional delegation today announced that the federal funds are being obligated and will therefore be safe from House Republicans' attempts to strip Rhode Island of the funding.
H.R. 1, the House-passed spending plan that would drastically cut $61 billion in jobs, education, health, and public safety programs, included a provision to rescind unobligated money from the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant II, which was created by Congress in the 2010 Transportation Appropriations Act. ProvPort received $10.5 million in TIGER II funding to purchase and install two high-performance harbor cranes, which will enhance the port's ability to continue its existing bulk material operations while expanding its capabilities to accommodate container operations, alleviating demand on the Port of Boston - the only other container port in New England. These new cranes are critical for the port, which has relied on 30-year-old rented cranes that have been prone to breakdowns and have been out of service for prolonged periods.
After the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration notified the delegation of its plan to obligate the funds to ProvPort this afternoon, the delegation issued a joint statement: "We are pleased the U.S. Department of Transportation has obligated these funds to create jobs and develop ProvPort into a critical regional hub for shipping. This is a much-needed federal investment in Rhode Island that has been promised and will now be delivered," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Representative James Langevin, and U.S. Representative David Cicilline.
The project is estimated to remove on average 1,000 trucks per week off the northeast corridor highway system - one of the most congested in the country.
ProvPort Inc., a nonprofit public-private partnership formed in 1994, owns and operates the municipal port of the City of Providence - the Port of Providence. The port is an important center of economic activity and over the past 15 years has increased its marine cargo throughput from 750,000 tons to 3.2 million tons per year. As a result, port related employment climbed from 800 to 2,400 jobs.
According to a study conducted by Bryant University, the initial investment will generate more than $120 million in economic stimulus and more than 550 jobs in Rhode Island and nearly 930 jobs nationally.