Rep. Ruggiero wants to strengthen state’s ports
Rhode Island’s ports are well positioned to become greater economic engines for the state. The state’s significant coastline, welldeveloped transportation systems and opportune location between New York and Boston are all the right ingredients, and after a recent dredging project, the Port of Davisville is now the seventh largest auto port and one of the fastestgrowing ports in North America.
The growth of Rhode Island’s ports as drivers of the state’s economy must continue, says state Rep. Deborah Ruggiero, and to help promote them, she has introduced legislation to create a body to collectively market them.
The marketing collaborative act would bring together state agencies and maritime stakeholders to develop and maintain a strategic plan for the state’s ports, facilities and maritime trades, with a special focus on job creation.
The goal, as proposed in Ruggiero’s bill, will be to create a place where key stakeholders, such as leadership at port facilities, economic development agencies and government entities, will collaborate on marketing strategy and coordinate development opportunities. It will also work to develop and maintain a strategic plan to focus on job creation at the port.
Members of the collaborative will include representatives of various state and quasi-public agencies, including the Economic Development Corporation, the Coastal Resources Management Council, the Department of Environmental Management, representatives of various chambers of commerce, and representatives of port-related businesses at ports in Davisville, Newport, Providence and Galilee.
“We are the Ocean State, and our ports are all working waterfronts that have some successful businesses operating from them, but they have the potential for much more,” said Ruggiero. “By working together, we can pool experience, knowledge and resources to get our message out to the world that Rhode Island’s ports are open for business and have a lot to offer. More business means more jobs, so we should be making the best of one of our greatest natural advantages and inviting businesses to use our ports.”
Ruggiero was the co-chairwoman of a legislative commission that worked from 2010 through 2012 to study the potential economic opportunities in the development of port facilities. In a final report last year, the commission noted that development of port infrastructure and growth of maritime industries could result in the creation of more than 1,000 new jobs, $70 million in personal income, $127 million in business revenue, and $8.1 million in new state and local tax revenues in coming years.