The Quonset Development Corporation (QDC) today announced that they have submitted a “historic” proposal to the Rhode Island Foundation’s Make it Happen: Investing for Rhode Island’s Future initiative today that would make Narragansett Bay the center for the offshore wind industry in the northeast United States. QDC’s proposal envisions investing federal infrastructure funds at Quonset’s Port of Davisville in order to preserve existing global port business while positioning Rhode Island to take advantage of the opportunities for economic growth and environmental stewardship presented by off-shore wind. 

More from QDC’s press release;

Quonset’s proposal would preserve nearly 1,700 existing jobs at the Port of Davisville while supporting the creation of 1,100 new jobs in the off-shore wind and marine shipping industries. Construction activity at the Port would immediately create hundreds of jobs in supporting industries. The proposal is available on-line at: www.Quonset.com/RI-Foundation

The Rhode Island Foundation’s initiative was established to develop recommendations for spending $1 billion in new stimulus funding Rhode Island is projected to receive from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The Foundation is soliciting ideas from the public as part of developing recommendations that will be shared with Gov. Dan McKee and leaders of the General Assembly prior to the end of September in order to inform their decisions. 

The proposed $78.5 million investment in infrastructure funding for the QDC’s Port of Davisville Master Plan envisions completion of project elements, including:

1) Construction of a new Terminal 5 Pier and completion of associated required dredging;

2) Preparation of approximately 34 acres to accommodate additional cargo laydown, and;

3) Reconstruction and hardening of the existing surface of Pier 1, built in 1941. 

The Port Master Plan would accommodate the off-shore wind industry and support the expansion of existing customers at the Port of Davisville, Rhode Island’s only public port. Overall, the master plan calls for a total of $234.5 million in critical infrastructure investment, of which $120.2 million has been secured. The proposed $78.5 million investment would substantially close the financing gap to secure the future success of the Port of Davisville and Rhode Island’s “Blue Economy.” 

“The Quonset team thanks the Rhode Island Foundation for taking a leadership role in the public discussion of how best to invest the American Rescue Plan Act stimulus funds,” said Steven J. King, P.E., Managing Director of the Quonset Development Corporation. “At Quonset, we believe in the power of the offshore wind industry to create opportunity for Rhode Islanders by expanding our state, regional and national economy and to continue making progress against climate change.” 

Quonset’s proposal will build on the success at the Port of Davisville, consistently one of the Top 10 auto importers in North America. In 2019, the Port had 224 ship calls and imported 296,706 vehicles, breaking its previous record. A recent report outlining the economic impact of Davisville concluded that the existing 1,658 jobs created by Port activities had average annual earnings of $59,598, which is approximately $27,342 more than Rhode Island’s 2019 median income. In addition, existing Port jobs generate approximately $17.9 million in State taxes annually.  

The requested stimulus funding will complement the $83.1 million in State and Agency funds currently being invested at the Port for the Pier 2 modernization and expansion project. The Pier 2 project is expected to be finished on time and $5 million under budget in early 2022. The project includes extending the Pier by 232 feet, creating a third berthing space at the Port for unloading cars and off-shore wind cargo. All current funding for the Port of Davisville is being used to enhance the Port’s economic resilience, create job opportunities and improve access to marine transportation. 

World-class infrastructure, like that envisioned by this proposal, has been the key to Quonset’s role as Rhode Island’s leading engine of job creation and economic development. The Business Park is home to over 200 companies and 12,200 jobs, while wages at the park are 19% higher than the Rhode Island average.

Quonset also generates $1.3 billion in income annually for Rhode Island families, as well as $136 million in state and local taxes and PILOT payments. Today, one of every six manufacturing jobs in Rhode Island is at Quonset. Quonset has also been a leader in renewable energy initiatives – today, 100% of Quonset Business Park operations are powered by renewable energy.   

To learn more about the Quonset proposal, please click here.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).