USA: Officials OK Funds for Davisville Port Dredging

The Rhode Island House of Representatives yesterday passed a joint resolution approving a $7.5-million bond for maintenance dredging around the piers at the Port of Davisville.

The resolution is one in a package of bills introduced this session following a three-year study by a special legislative commission that focused on the potential economic growth that could result from further development and marketing of the state’s ports.

This resolution was introduced in the House by Rep. Helio Melo (D-Dist. 64, East Providence), Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, which heard and approved the measure last week.

The resolution authorizes the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation to issue, at no cost to taxpayers, a $7.5-million revenue bond for the dredging project. The bond would be repaid by operating revenues of the EDC subsidiary Quonset Development Corporation and companies that utilize the Davisville port and the piers for maritime business.

In proposing the bond issue, the study commission recommended not using federal government funding for the Davisville dredging project to avoid imposition of a federal Harbor Maintenance Tax on port users. The fact that Davisville is not subject to the tax is expected to be a major competitive advantage for the port and the state.

A spokesperson for the QDC said that, with legislative approval of the bond resolution, work on the dredging project could begin this October.

The House legislation now goes to the Senate for consideration. A companion Senate measure, introduced by Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), is before the Senate Committee on Finance.

House members who served on the study commission include Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown), Rep. Roberto DaSilva (D-Dist. 63, East Providence, Pawtucket), Rep. Laurence W. Ehrhardt (R-Dist. 32, North Kingstown), Rep. Donald J. Lally Jr. (D-Dist. 33, Narragansett, North Kingstown, South Kingstown), Rep. Leo Medina (D-Dist. 12, Providence) and Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, Narragansetts, South Kingstown).

[mappress]

Dredging Today Staff, March 29, 2012;

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