The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd):
(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen joined Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and Sen. Jack Reed, along with state and local officials, to christen a new crane barge on Monday, marking the completion of a nearly $20 million project that substantially enhances cargo-handling capabilities at the Port of Providence. Funded, in part, by a $10.5 million Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant in 2010, the crane barge, along with two high-performance cranes that were delivered in 2013, have transformed the port into a modern marine cargo center.
“This project is precisely what the Obama administration had in mind when it created TIGER — a transformative infrastructure project that not only helps shape this country’s future, but one that also opens the floodgates of opportunity across America,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
The $10.5 million TIGER grant supported the purchase of a marine barge and two high-performance cranes, as well as specialized equipment that allow the cranes to move a variety of cargo. The barge, christened Monday, will be used as a platform for the cranes. The new cranes, which can transfer cargo to and from vessels twice as fast as the old cranes, and the barge, which enables cargo transfer for vessels too large to be positioned at the dock, modernize and enhance existing port infrastructure, facilitate the expansion of bulk operations, and support the development of container operations.
“An investment in maritime infrastructure is an investment in the future,” said Jaenichen. “When you boost port capability and capacity, you create a long-lasting economic engine that will benefit the local and regional economies for decades.”
“I am grateful to Secretary Foxx and Administrator Jaenichen for their leadership and commitment to enhancing our infrastructure. Rhode Island is a maritime state, it’s part of our heritage and key to our future. Our ports have a strategic location and room for growth, and I am committed to modernizing our port infrastructure and creating good-paying, sustainable jobs. Thanks to federal transportation funding, we have made major improvements here at ProvPort as well as at our small shipyards and the Port of Davisville. By expanding capacity and improving both dockside facilities and inland connections, our ports can increase the volume of business. I will continue working at the federal level to ensure Rhode Island’s ports are well positioned to compete, both now and in the future,” said Reed.
The Port of Providence is one of the busiest ports in the northeastern United States, and one of only two deepwater ports in New England. According to the port officials, ProvPort has generated an estimated $200 million total economic impact on the region, provided more than $60 million in direct business revenues and $16 million in revenue to local and state governments.
To date, 43 TIGER grants totaling nearly $524 million have been awarded to our nation’s ports and maritime transportation projects, representing 11.4 percent of total TIGER funds awarded.