Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy has been in a lot of hot water lately with his massive tax increases and his treatment of State employees. So now he is going to a new venue moving from the hot water in Hartford to the deep water of our shore line.
Four State agencies are working together on a long-term plan for economic development of Connecticut’s deep water ports, including a focused effort at growing maritime industry jobs. The Malloy administration was forced to take positive action by legislation that passed required the state to develop a strategy for economic development of the ports in New Haven, New London and Bridgeport.
Last week, the state issued a request-for-proposals (RFP) to develop a strategy for port development, with a specific focus on generating strategic initiatives and detailed action plans it can use in developing and marketing the ports. “The study will create the picture, the plan and the strategy for the future growth of our ports and waterways,” said James P. Redeker, Commissioner, for the Department of Transportation.
“This collaboration is unique. Four state agencies are working together in an accelerated effort, one that we envision will produce a market-based strategy for our ports as quickly as possible,” said Ben Barnes, Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management. Too often in State government each agency regards their domain as a separate kingdom to be protected and autonomous it is refreshing to see some cooperation for the common good.
“Putting a strategy in place to make greater use of Connecticut’s ports and maritime facilities makes good sense for our economy and the environment,” said Daniel C. Esty, Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. It is expected that this effort will increase port efficiency and provide additional job opportunities.
Based on a recent analysis conducted by the Connecticut Maritime Coalition, Connecticut’s maritime industries and related economic activities account for more than $5 billion in business output within the state. There are currently 30,000 jobs within the industry in Connecticut.
Our geographic location on Long Island Sound provides a wonderful resource that may not now be used to the greatest potential. Although the maritime industries contribute approximately $2.7 billion in State GDP there is potential for increased growth.
Dan Malloy may have been in hot water but this new initiative into the opportunities provided by our deep water could be the equivalent of a life preserver for a Governor that up to this point has found even treading water can be difficult. The next step if this plan is to become anything beyond hot air and puffery is to revisit regulations and mandates that have stifled growth in the past.