2011-02-24 / News

Ruggerio named co-chair of port panel

Sen. William A. Walaska and Rep. Deborah Ruggeiro will serve as co-chairs of the special legislative commission to study the potential economic opportunities in the development of port facilities, when the panel continues its ongoing study during this legislative session.

Ruggeiro represents District 74 of Jamestown and Middletown.

The commission was created by the General Assembly during the 2009 legislative year to assess potential market opportunities for Rhode Island’s port and to quantify the economic benefits and effects resulting from those market opportunities.

During the past two years, the commission held several hearings, heard hours of testimony and toured operating ports and ancillary facilities and businesses around the state.

In an interim report released last year, the commission said that the state has made significant progress in the past few years to expand and strengthen the position of its ports, including development at Quonset Point/Davisville and a revitalized port management in Providence.

Despite those few bright spots and successes, the commission report said that many of the jobs and numerous other economic advantages and benefits associated with trade and maritime transportation have gravitated elsewhere.

Nonetheless, the panel believes the state’s geographic location, its coastal water resources and its land transportation connections and assets should enable Rhode Island both to resume its proper place in waterborne transportation and to regain the attendant economic and environmental benefits.

Walaska has been a member of the study commission since its inception and has served as co-chair during that time. Ruggeiro has also been a member of the commission since it was impaneled and this year was named co-chair by Speaker of the House Gordon D. Fox, filling the spot held by former Rep. Peter F. Kilmartin.

Other senators who will serve on the commission are three returning members: Senate Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio. Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin and Sen. David E. Bates. Two new members of the commission are Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski and Sen. James C. Sheehan.

Return to top