Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has signed legislation creating 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.
Both chambers of the General Assembly passed the legislation unanimously in May.
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
“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,” said Malloy. “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.”
He said with this new structure in place, a renewed focus at the state level and a comprehensive strategy, he believes 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.”
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, 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.”
In 2011, Malloy commissioned the Connecticut Deep Water Port Strategy Study to guide the development of a long-term economic development strategy for the deep water ports in Bridgeport, New Haven, and New London. The study analyzes the strengths and deficiencies of Connecticut’s ports, makes recommendations to protect existing commercial operations at these ports, and identifies new opportunities for business growth.