2012-01-19 / News

Paiva Weed opposes Quonset casino

Sens. Teresa Paiva Weed, Dominick J. Ruggerio and Dennis L. Algiere recently expressed strong opposition to any proposal to bring a casino to the Quonset/Davisville port.

The staunch opposition comes as talk of a potential casino at the Quonset port has been heating up in recent weeks. There have been new investments in Toray, NORAD and Electric Boat, as well as continued growth of many smaller businesses in Quonset.

“I am strongly opposed to any plan to bring a casino to Quonset,” said Paiva Weed. “The news this week of Electric Boat’s expansion demonstrates the realization of the investments which the citizens of Rhode Island have made in Quonset over the past few years. A Quonset casino would put past and current investment, as well as all further private development at the port, at substantial risk. A casino would only hinder any future growth of the Quonset/Davisville port.”

The state has made significant investments into improving the port to encourage development and job growth. A $50 million bond initiative approved by voters in 1996 provided for the expansion and improvement of railways, including a 22-mile Amtrak line originating in Central Falls and terminating at Quonset.

In addition, voters in 2004 approved a general obligation bond that enabled the state to invest $48 million in improvements to the infrastructure surrounding the port. The funds were used to realign, repair and install new roadways, provide updated electric, water and sewer utilities, and repair and redevelop the piers to foster economic development.

“The Quonset/Davisville port is our state’s primary link to marine transportation,” said Ruggerio. “This land must be developed strategically with a focus on maintaining existing businesses while encouraging expansion of similar industries. Growing our import and export opportunities at the port directly translates into jobs for Rhode Islanders.”

Added Algiere, “A casino is not the right fit for Quonset. It is imperative that the port be utilized to its full potential, which means focusing on the development of an industrial manufacturing base. The fact that businesses there are expanding is proof that the land should be utilized for industrial and manufacturing purposes, not a casino resort.”

A joint legislative commission has been studying the potential opportunities for further development of port facilities in Rhode Island. The commission has been focused on the best actions to take to enable the ports to make greater contributions to the economic and environmental well-being of the state, and is expected to release a final report on their findings and recommendations in the coming months.

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