WILTON, Conn. -- Wilton State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) is applauding the passage of a bill to create a Connecticut Port Authority.
The bill aimed at developing Connecticut’s ports passed unanimously in the state House on Tuesday, May 13, according to a press release. It will move on to the state Senate for consideration.
Lavielle, "who has been a steadfast advocate for the creation of a Connecticut port authority as critical for the state’s economic development," was an early co-sponsor of the bill, according to the release.
“The state’s deep-water ports are one of the state’s most underutilized economic assets,” said Lavielle, ranking member of the General Assembly’s Commerce Committee. “Connecticut has a long and rich maritime tradition, but our ports are not thriving because the state has not been taking advantage of their potential. Coordination, oversight, and promotion by a port authority will stimulate business, improve the movement of freight, and reduce congestion on our highways.”
Speaking on the floor of the House, Rep. Lavielle noted that Connecticut is the only state on the East coast without a state-level governance structure for its ports, according to the release.
The bill would create the Connecticut Port Authority as a quasi-public agency with a 15-member board of directors, according to the release.
"Its role would include seeking private investment and federal funds to increase capacity through dredging and other infrastructure improvements, marketing the ports to foreign and domestic shippers, coordinating the planning and funding of capital projects, and developing strategic entrepreneurial initiatives. While the port authority would focus on developing Connecticut’s three deep-water ports in Bridgeport, New Haven, and New London, it would also serve the state’s smaller ports. Following a set-up period, the new port authority would become fully operational in October of 2015," representatives said in the release.
“Creating a statewide Port Authority is essential for moving Connecticut’s economic development strategy forward,” Lavielle said. “Ports cannot function in isolation – they need to be an integral part of local, regional, and global economies. An umbrella structure can achieve this integration and look beyond the needs of each individual port to develop a plan to address capital investment, regulatory issues, proper marketing, and infrastructure needs.”
The bill will move on to the state Senate for consideration.