USA: Governor Inks Bill to Create Statewide Port Authority
Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined state and local elected officials and members the state’s maritime industry, yesterday held a signing ceremony for legislation that creates the Connecticut Port Authority which will act as a quasi-public agency to market and coordinate the development of the state’s ports and maritime economy. The legislation was passed unanimously by both chambers of the General Assembly in May.
“Connecticut’s three deep water ports in New London, New Haven and Bridgeport are important assets for attracting investment, expanding business development and creating jobs, all of which are keys to our economic recovery. Working off of the recommendations of our Deep Water Port Strategy Study, we are taking steps to support Connecticut’s maritime industries by strengthening the economic potential of our deep water resources,” said Governor Malloy. “With this new structure in place, a renewed focus at the state level and a comprehensive strategy that will be driven by the new Port Authority, I am more confident than ever that Connecticut’s ports will be in a stronger position to attract more private investment and import and export business while also taking trucks off of our congested highways and driving job growth around the state.”
Governor Malloy continued: “As we begin the planning and implementation process to establish the Port Authority, our Administration looks forward to working with our partners in the private sector and our port cities to develop a first-class Port Authority that will allow the state to speak with one unified voice in maritime development and related infrastructure investment. I thank my colleagues in the General Assembly, Democrats and Republicans, and the leadership of both chambers – especially Speaker Sharkey and the Chairs and Ranking members of the Transportation Committee – for their swift passage of this legislation.”
The legislation creates the Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) as a new quasi-public agency governed by a 15-member board. The CPA’s primary role will be to coordinate port and maritime economic development, establish a statewide port marketing strategy, and serve as the lead agency in seeking federal and state funding for infrastructure improvements such as dredging.
“With our new Port Authority structure in place, we can begin to turn our underutilized deep water ports into commercial hubs that will create new business markets along our coast and help spur economic growth throughout our state,” said Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden). “Not only does our unique location between New York and Boston present new market opportunities, but more cargo on the water means less traffic on our highways.”
“After two years of collaboration and hard work, we are finally set to realize the full potential of Connecticut’s deep water ports,” said State Senator Andrew Maynard (D-Stonington), Senate Chair of the Transportation Committee. “I want to thank the governor for lending his support to this initiative, the legislative delegation who has worked hard to craft the law, and all of the local stakeholders who came together to advocate for our ports. This is a positive development for business in southeastern Connecticut.”
“When we invest in our transportation infrastructure, we invest in Connecticut’s economy,” said State Representative Tony Guerrera (D-Newington, Rocky Hill, Wethersfield), House Chair of the Transportation Committee. “Active ports yield an active economy.”
“No legislation happens without collaboration, and this new law is no exception,” said State Senator Andrea Stillman (D-Waterford), Vice-Chair of the Transportation Committee. “In fact, it is the collaborative nature of this project that made the port authority a viable initiative and not just a widely supported concept. I want to thank everyone who helped to make this possible for New London and all of southeastern Connecticut.”
“I’m particularly pleased the New London port is specifically included in this new law,” said State Representative Steve Mikutel (D-Griswold), Vice-Chair of the Transportation Committee. “The potential for job growth surrounding our ports expands with the entire state on the same page when it comes to maritime commerce.”
“Connecticut’s waterfront assets are a valuable but untapped resource, and this bill creates a path toward determining the appropriate structure, powers and functions to help make our ports successful,” said State Representative David Scribner (R-Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury), Ranking Member of the Transportation and Transportation Bonding Committees. “As a self-sustaining, financially autonomous entity, the Port Authority will give us opportunities to fully utilize our waterways for industrial and other purposes.”
The new Authority will be established on October 1, 2015. In the interim, the legislation charges the Department of Economic and Community Development to develop, in partnership with state agencies including the Department of Transportation (ConnDOT), Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Office of Policy and Management, a business and operating plan for the consideration of the new Authority’s board as well as to make recommendations to the Governor and Assembly with respect to additional legislation that would accelerate port development. The legislation also creates a Port Authority Working Group comprised of representatives of the maritime industry, labor and the deep water port municipalities, which is charged with making recommendations for DECD to consider in the development of the business and operating plan and recommendations to the Governor and Assembly.
“Our ports are important intermodal gateways to Connecticut and New England highways and rail lines moving an array of consumer goods such as lumber, steel, salt and petroleum products,” said Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker. “With a smart, coordinated marketing and promotional plan, we will be in a position to attract more business and further boost the regional economy.”
“The legislation being signed by Governor Malloy recognizes that Connecticut’s ports are critical economic development assets that can be engines for economic growth,” said Tim Sullivan, Director of Waterfront, Brownfield and Transit-Oriented Development for the Department of Economic and Community Development. “Under the Governor’s leadership and with the partnership of the Legislature and the private sector we are confident that the creation of the Connecticut Port Authority will be an inflection point in the trajectory of our ports.”
Press Release, June 17, 2014