As Rhode Island’s premier business park and leading engine of job growth, Quonset Development Corp. is constantly preparing for new business opportunities. One of the most significant ways we do that is by working with our public and private partners to make strategic investments in our world-class infrastructure.
Recently, Quonset was awarded an $11.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration to further prepare the Port of Davisville to serve as a hub for the wind energy industry, while positioning the Port to continue as a North American leader in auto imports. Matched with $6 million from Quonset, the grant will fund upgrades to the South Face of Pier 1, including the replacement of a portion of the face of the pier with a steel pile-supported concrete pier structure. This project will raise the number of “roll-on, roll-off” berths at the Port of Davisville from two to three, enabling the Pier to accommodate the still growing auto import industry. The additional berth will also create the necessary space for Davisville to welcome heavy installation vessels carrying wind turbine components for offshore wind farms.
The rehabilitation of Pier 1 coincides with ongoing renovations on Davisville’s Pier 2 which are expected to reach completion on time in 2022 and millions under budget.
Support from senator Jack Reed and the state’s congressional delegation was critical in the effort to secure federal funding. “Four years ago, Rhode Islanders voted to invest in Quonset pier renovations,” said senator Reed. “Today, I am proud to deliver an additional $11.1 million in federal funding to build on that investment, upgrade Quonset’s world-class infrastructure, and bring more jobs and business to Rhode Island.”
This latest investment is only the latest example of Quonset’s long history of working with our partners at the local, state, and federal levels to open new avenues for economic growth in Rhode Island. Soon there will be a new opportunity to add a crucial funding component to the improvements at Davisville. Now before the General Assembly is a $31 million bond measure proposed in the FY 2021 budget that would pave the way to make Davisville a wind energy port. The bond will help to preserve the jobs and economic output that make the port essential to Rhode Island’s continued economic growth.
Quonset deeply appreciates the support we have received over the years from Rhode Island voters, the General Assembly, and our delegation in Washington. The Port of Davisville currently generates $374 million in business output annually, supports nearly 1,700 jobs, creates nearly $100 million in income for Rhode Island families and generates $28 million in state and local tax revenue. With recent and future investments in the Pier, these numbers will only continue to grow.
Steven King, PE, is the managing director of the Quonset Development Corp., North Kingstown, R.I.