The launch of Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) looks to open up new opportunities for the State’s ports.
Getting off the Ground
Back in June of 2014, Connecticut’s Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed PA 14-222, which led to the establishment of Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) in 2015. Prior to the formation of the CPA, the State’s ports were under the Connecticut Department of Transportation, although the actual running of the ports was under the various local port authorities, such as Bridgeport, New London and New Haven, the main three.
Establishing just how the CPA was to be managed and ratcheting down the new organization’s “mission statement” took a little time. In September of last year (2016), the CPA hired Evan Matthews as their first executive director. Matthews was well known, as he’d spent 13 years at the Port of Davisville in Rhode Island overseeing a period of great expansion at that port (see story on page 6).
Although Matthews has great experience with the challenges of ports on New England’s “south coast”, the new role at the CPA in many respects is very different.
In an interview with the AJOT, he explained that the quasi-state agency CPA “is more like a state economic development corporation” than a state port authority. Matthews elaborated that the main responsibilities for the CPA are marketing the State’s ports, pursuing federal and state funding for dredging and coordinating, planning and implementing capital projects. “We’re [CPA] facilitators” rather than managers, Matthews added. As before, the port management still resides with the local authorities with several notable differences. In the past, the ports and harbors (there are also a number of smaller facilities under the CPA umbrella) were just one group of many vying for a slice of the DOT budget and time. The CPA, on the other hand, has its own resources. For example, the CPA has $7.5 million for the SHIPP (Small Harbor Improvement Projects Program) directed at helping smaller harbors that in the past might have had difficulty in securing funding.
The ability to tap into State’s bonds is also clearly an advantage to the CPA’s ability to collaborate on projects. In February, the Bond Commission approved $4.5 million for the New London State Pier Facility project…
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