Shamrock over at Fall River-tastic has just blogged that Fall River will not be in the running for federal stimulus money to develop a short sea shipping port.
Well according to the source of this information, the Providence Journal, it's because the Commonwealth chose between "two competing proposals". In other words, facing competing proposals from New Bedford and Fall River, they decided to submit just the New Bedford proposal. Massachusetts could have submitted both proposals. Rhode Island submitted two.
What did we miss out on? Well first off, the influx of federal money that would have provided immediate jobs to our region. More importantly the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of something that could have huge implications on our local economy. The potential for between 500-1000 long term jobs. With a deep water port, and easy highway access Fall River seems perfectly positioned for short sea shipping.
It seems that this is something Fall River should have been in the running for, so where's the outrage.
Proposals needed to be submitted by September 15, 2009. So how long has our local leadership known we were out of the running? When did they first become aware of this opportunity? Where was the effort to show that Fall River was worthy of Federal consideration?
Why wasn't this all in Herald News weeks ago? Where was the outrage from Senator Menard or Representatives Sullivan, Rodrigues, and Aguiar? Why wasn't Mayor Correia holding press conferences urging the state to submit BOTH proposals?
Here's the opportunity to provide good paying jobs, stimulate our local economy and develop our waterfront and instead of fighting for this our leadership is fighting over whether the Braga looks better in blue or green?
How do you drop the ball on this? It's not like Fall River didn't consider this a worthy project, good ol' Kenny Fiola is quoted saying :
“It’s a shame,” says Kenneth Fiola Jr., executive vice president of the Fall River Office of Economic Development. “The state should have applied for both and let the feds pick and choose.”
"It's a shame" my ass, what's a shame is that none of our "leadership" fought to make sure Fall River was included!
Did our City Council know? If so where was the resolution urging the Governor to include the Fall River proposal? If not, why not!? If the City Council wasn't aware of something this important than FROED isn't doing their job.
Why is the first mention of this from the PROVIDENCE JOURNAL and 2 WEEKS TOO LATE to make a damn bit of difference?!
This could have been and should have been something for the community to rally behind. This could have been Bob Correia's chance to be the white knight and get the city behind him. This should have been our local delegations chance to show they can get something meaningful done for Fall River. Instead all we can do is discuss how great the bridge will look in blue and whether or not nude dancing is good for our economy. Is it any wonder we're not getting ahead?