Federal grant to support infrastructure upgrades at Port of Galilee

A $1.6 million federal grant announced by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) on Monday will support pier reconstruction, bulkhead repairs, and electrical upgrades at the Port of Galilee in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

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With 38 piers and docks and 240 commercial fishing vessels, the Port of Galilee is the state’s busiest commercial fishing port. Those vessels land more than 53 million pounds of seafood and shellfish, totaling more than $55 million, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The state will match the federal grant and anticipates that the infrastructure investments will support the creation of 22 new jobs and drive an additional $1.2 million in private investment.

“Modernizing the Port of Galilee is a smart investment that recognizes the importance of the fishing industry to our economy,” U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said. “I am pleased to deliver continued federal support to upgrade the port, helping it maintain and expand its operations. This grant will allow us to continue making progress strengthening the port’s infrastructure and sparking additional investment and economic growth,”

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who hosted EDA officials on a tour of the port, said commercial ports are among Rhode Island’s most important economic assets.

“This federal award is a long-term investment in ensuring that another generation of hardworking Rhode Island fishermen will continue to catch some of the world’s best seafood out of Galilee,” Whitehouse said.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will continue to oversee the Port of Galilee’s infrastructure upgrades, which began with a $2.9 million EDA grant in 2013.

“Rhode Island will continue to benefit from this important federal funding to rehabilitate critical infrastructure in the Port of Galilee,” DEM Director Janet Coit said. “The Port of Galilee is among the largest and most successful working commercial fishing ports on the East Coast. Infrastructure investments in Galilee support local businesses and jobs, create economic opportunities and drive tourism. We appreciate the leadership of our dedicated Congressional delegation in securing this additional funding.”

In applauding the EDA grant, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said that the Port of Galilee symbolizes what makes Rhode Island unique.

“I remember spending my summers washing dishes at George’s of Galilee, watching tourists board the Block Island Ferry or fishermen bringing in the daily catch,” Raimondo said. “Thanks to the hard work of our Congressional Delegation, we’ll be able to upgrade the port to ensure the Ocean State’s vibrant fishing economy continues to create jobs and thrive.”