QUONSET – Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation joined local business and municipal leaders last week to commemorate $3 million in federal funding which will be used for rail improvements at Quonset Business Park. The money will be supplemented by a $1 million contribution from Quonset Development Corporation.
“Through good times and difficult times, Quonset Point has been a bright spot for Rhode Island’s economy,” said US senator Jack Reed. “When we invest in Quonset Point, we are rewarded with more jobs and more growth.”
The event, held at Quonset Millcreek Rail Yard, served as a groundbreaking for the $4 million initiative, which will 5,700 feet of new track and six rail turnouts, which will accommodate the storage of dozens of rail cars. Reed led the effort at the federal level to secure the necessary funding for the project.
“This project will provide 14 miles of existing track and access to all the various businesses, provides new opportunities and additional capacity for us to bring in more industry and warehouses,” he said. “This investment is a historic effort.”
Rhode Island’s Senior Senator said the federal dollars would boost industry within the park, improve transportation and attract future investment in the area, calling the funding and the improvements it would make possible a “win, win, win.”
Reed also thanked his cohorts in the US House of Representatives, Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline. Together, the state’s Congressional Delegation secured $800 million in federal funding in 2016, monies which served as the source for the most recent use of the funds in Quonset.
“We’re going to help continue to modernize this whole area,” Langevin said. “Once again, with more than 200 businesses, 12,000 employees and as the state’s only public port, Quonset Business Park is truly at the heart of Rhode Island’s growing economy. I think we can all say with great confidence that when Quonset thrives, we all thrive.”
As major ports across the country continue to be backed up as a result of the pandemic, Langevin stated projects such as the ones in Quonset would provide the needed resources to allow products to flow through these transitional areas quickly.
“The funds couldn’t come at a better time,” he said. “As your hearing about the bottleneck in our supply chain right now, it’s not that there isn’t demand for product, it’s that the supply is backed up in major ports around the country. The more port expansion we can bring to the region and make this business park move even more efficiently, the better off we all are.”
Reed and Langevin also touted Quonset Business Park as a destination for nationwide shipping, and Cicilline noted the industrial potential of the area for the state.
“We recognize that this park is really an economic generator for all of Rhode Island,” said Cicilline. “There’s over 200 businesses here and really good-paying jobs…We’re making sure we’re getting the federal investments necessary to maximize the value of this business park.”
“This is part of the reason the President I think has been so focused on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better agenda,” he continued. “It really invests in a serious way the rebuilding of our infrastructure of our country, not only to create millions of good-paying jobs but to make sure that we can remain economically competitive.”
Reed, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, has worked to deliver over $55 million for the Freight Rail Improvement Project at Quonset to provide a meaningful rail connection to the port.
The rail system within Quonset connects directly to the Port of Davisville, the Quonset State Airport, the National Freight Highway System and the M-95 Marine Highway.