State Moves Forward With Deep Water Port Economic Development Efforts
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
CT’s Maritime Industries Account For More Than 30,000 Jobs
Four state agencies – the Department of Economic and Community Development; the Department of Transportation; the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; and the Office of Policy and Management – are working together on a long-term plan for economic development of Connecticut’s deep water ports, including a focused effort at growing maritime industry jobs. Earlier this year, legislation that passed required the state to develop a strategy for economic development of the ports in New Haven, New London and Bridgeport. Last week, the state issued a request-for-proposals (RFP) for these services, with a specific focus on generating strategic initiatives and detailed action plans it can use in developing and marketing the ports.
Based on the most recent analysis conducted by the Connecticut Maritime Coalition, Connecticut’s maritime industries and related economic activity account for more than $5 billion in business output within the state – including more than 30,000 jobs – and approximately $2.7 billion in State GDP.
“We already know that our maritime industry is a large and critical component of the state’s economy. What’s been missing is a solid understanding of the market in which our ports operate, and a detailed strategy for how the state can best partner with and support the ports within that marketplace,” said Catherine Smith, Commissioner, Department of Economic and Community Development. “The study will use a market-based analysis to guide public and private infrastructure investments to ensure we're doing the right things, in the right order, to position Connecticut's ports for realistic opportunities and achievable outcomes."
According to the RFP, the final analysis will include: a full inventory of current port facilities; detailed profiles of transportation accessibility to the ports; a market analysis, including a list of markets or regions which can be serviced by Connecticut ports; a comprehensive strategy for economic development of the deep draft ports, including short- and long-term strategic initiatives and action plans; and, a plan for providing grants-in-aid for improvements to ports and marinas, including dredging and navigational direction.
“The study will create the picture, the plan and the strategy for the future growth of our ports and waterways,” said James P. Redeker, Commissioner, Department of Transportation. “It will help ensure that we maximize transportation assets to connect our ports to rail, airports and highways in such a way that fosters the smart transportation of people, goods and services. Relieving congestion on our highway corridors improves safety, air quality and the efficiency of Connecticut’s transportation systems, which in turn helps our overall economy.”
“Putting a strategy in place to make greater use of Connecticut’s ports and maritime facilities makes good sense for our economy and the environment,” said Daniel C. Esty, Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “This approach will benefit the entire state by reducing truck traffic on the highways, efficiently moving more cargo with less fuel use and less emissions, and creating more jobs in and around updated port facilities.”
“This collaboration is unique. Four state agencies are working together in an accelerated effort, one that we envision will produce a market-based strategy for our ports as quickly as possible,” said Ben Barnes, Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management. “It demonstrates the importance of the ports to our economic growth, transportation infrastructure and environment. It also shows that the administration is serious about coordinating efforts to make Connecticut a better place to live and work.”