Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell at the City Whaling Museum yesterday to announce the administration’s commitment of $24 million in funding to dredge New Bedford-Fairhaven Harbor.
According to their official statement, this funding commitment will enable the dredging of approximately 430,000 cubic yards of sediment from the harbor, deepening berths and access channels at more than 40 commercial marinas and waterfront properties.
The grant also funds the fifth and final phase of the Commonwealth’s efforts to enhance cleanup of the harbor, one of the EPA’s largest Superfund sites.
The City of New Bedford will construct a confined aquatic disposal cell to sequester any dredged contaminated sediment, resulting in more than one million cubic yards of contamination removed by the Commonwealth over the last 18 years.
“Supporting the vitality of maritime industry is critical to the strength of both coastal communities and the entire Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We will continue to fund initiatives such as the Massachusetts Dredging Program that help communities maximize their coastal resources, and look forward to the positive impact this funding will have on New Bedford and the region.”
“As Chair of the Seaport Economic Council, I have seen firsthand the transformative impact that dredging can have on maritime industry and the coastal communities that depend on it,” added Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are pleased that successful collaboration between the municipality, our Administration, and the federal government yielded this $24 million commitment that will unlock thousands of jobs and spur millions of dollars in economic activity.”
The additional dredging made possible by this funding announcement will increase capacity and remove contaminated sediment, clearing the way for investments in the expansion and upgrading of critical port infrastructure.
The funding is expected to lead to the creation of approximately 700 new jobs in and around New Bedford, while generating $232 million more in business revenue.