CONNstruction - Summer 2017 - 10
By Autumn Cafiero Giusti
Now that Connecticut has its own statewide port authority, officials are setting the
wheels in motion to bring new infrastructure
developments and revenue opportunities to
the state's coastline.
The Connecticut Port Authority (CPA)
came into existence in October 2015, and
since then its members have wasted very
little time in carrying out its mission of moving
the state's maritime economy forward. The
port authority is responsible for marketing the
state's ports to the world, coordinating infrastructure improvements and mapping out a
maritime strategy for economic development.
"I view it as that we're starting from
behind, so we're moving as fast as we can,
not just to catch up, but also to seize opportunities. We're a competitive market, and
we've got a lot to offer," says Scott Bates,
chairman of the Connecticut Port Authority
board and Deputy Secretary of the State.
10 / CONNstruction / SUMMER 2017
Among its first tasks, the port authority is in the midst of developing a strategic
plan that will guide its investments in the
years ahead. The plan would help the state
increase cargo activity in the ports while also
coordinating and strengthening the state's
The CPA, in September, appointed its
first executive director, Evan Matthews, who
will help craft the strategic plan. Matthews
previously served as port director in Rhode
Island and has an extensive background in
The Port Authority has been reviewing
potential projects that could be a boon to
the state's construction industry. In February,
the state approved $4.5 million for upgrades
at the New London port. The money will go
toward repairs and improvements at the port.
That includes lighting and security measures,
as well as repairing some of the docks.
"I hope there will be a lot of opportunities
for Connecticut's construction industry. No
one knows our shoreline communities better
than the men and women who work here,"
Bates says. "It's my great hope that everyone
in the trades is put to work rebuilding the
infrastructure of this state."
Also in February, the port authority
announced the creation of the Small Harbor
Improvement Projects Program (SHIPP) to
provide grant money specifically targeted
toward harbor improvements in areas
other than Connecticut's three deep-water
port cities of Bridgeport, New Haven and
The Port Authority authorized $7.5 million
for SHIPP in 2017. The grant money would go
toward the preparation of plans and studies,
as well as construction projects to improve
state, municipal or other properties in or
next to Connecticut waters.