State leaders and private stakeholders announced their final agreement to redevelop the State Pier in New London Tuesday. It's a public-private partnership between the Connecticut Port Authority, Gateway Terminal, and Orsted and Eversource.
“New London, let’s say that port has been underutilized for a long time," said Gov. Ned Lamont.
Involved parties say the $157 million agreement sets the stage to transform the pier into a port, which will be used for at least 10 years for the creation of wind turbine generators.
“We’re getting private entities to invest in a once in a generation upgrade of our facility that after they utilize it for a limit period of time, we get to reap the benefits of it for generations,” said Connecticut Port Authority Chair David Kooris.
We're told the state will be paying for about half of the cost through bond funding and money previously committed by the port authority.
Leaders estimate redevelopment will require more than 450 construction jobs and then 400 offshore wind-related gigs will follow.
"It will drastically increase the amount of maritime activity in the port of New London related to the pier as they bring in components and then bring them out to the offshore lease areas," said Kooris.
In a statement, Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano said the process has been rushed and wasn’t transparent.
A community member who attended the Connecticut Port of Authority board of directors meeting this morning had similar concerns too.
“The more I read or tried to learn, it made me alarmed that there wasn’t a lot of truth or facts coming out," said Linda Blais of Bozrah.
"I’m not necessarily against it, but I’m alarmed that we don’t have enough information and it’s already been decided."
But those announcing the next chapter say they’ve given ample opportunities for public input and have made changes based on feedback too.
“Too rushed? I’m just the opposite. What the heck took so long? I’ve been doing this nonstop with David and the team for a year. This thing started well before I got here," said Lamont.
For those questioning if the state’s port authority can’t be trusted after a host of controversies, “For the last 6 months, we have worked hard to implement corrective actions that have come out of all the various audits that we and the legislature and the administration have commissioned. All of those new policies and procedures are now in place so we have that strong foundation of which the public can have confidence in our actions going forward,” said Kooris.