Thursday, August 19, 2010

Full Steam Ahead for New Bedford's Short Sea Shipping efforts

Great news! New Bedford will be eligible for federal assistance to develop a Short Sea initiative.

And despite the tone of sarcasm some may have picked up from my opening statement, this really is great news for New Bedford. There is a big push for Short Sea Shipping. It is being advocated as a way to ease congestion on our roadways. It's said to be more environmentally friendly, and more cost effective.  If a big push for SSS is realized those communities that become hubs for shipping will see a growth in all sorts of economic activity, from the initial work, and the subsequent growth in shipping related industries, to the relocation of companies looking to be closer to their shipping hubs.

So, this really is great news for New Bedford, but what about Fall River? Fall River needs jobs and an economic boost. Fall River has one of the states deepest ports. Fall River is ideally located. Why wasn't Fall River in the running? Supposedly there was a proposal but the Commonwealth decided to submit just one to the federal government. However, Rhode Island submitted more than one.

Where was Ken Fiola pushing for a Fall River proposal? Where was Mayor Correia on this? Where was our local delegation?? Why can Joan Menard push for a casino in Fall River and push to overturn restriction clauses but nothing to give Fall River a fighting chance in a project that really could be a catalyst for citywide economic development? Of course to add insult to injury, New Bedford is still in the running for a casino and now they're competing for the BioPark that was supposed to be an exclusive certainty for Fall River.

When I first became aware of this almost a year ago it was because Shamrock blogged about it after the story was reported (2 weeks, after the deadline), in the Providence Journal. Why wasn't this covered in the local paper? Our city's leadership should have been promoting this months before, putting pressure on the state to recognize the potential of Fall River as a short sea shipping hub. The fact that this opportunity slipped by us with barely a whisper is just a clear sign of how ineffective the Office of Economic Development is, as well as this city's leadership on both the local and state level.


Skoorey said...

I realize your question about why Fiola wasn't pushing this is rhetorical.

Lefty said...

You know, I'm not sure if it is rhetorical. I can't really think of a good answer for this. If you have a good theory I'd like to hear it. I agree there a lot of things we may all assume but I can't think of one good solid legit reason why Fiola, the Mayor and our local delegation shouldn't have been pushing for this.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the city council call for Fiola to come before them soon? That should be a fun meeting assuming the council is smart enough to pull together some decent questions. Chances are they will fumble the ball.