We couldn’t help noticing today’s editorial in The Providence Journal. “Rhode Island is sleepwalking through economic history,” the writer begins. “The growth in world trade is transforming regional economies all over the United States — but not here. Thanks to NIMBY-minded opponents of a container port at Quonset Point, Rhode Island has literally missed the boat, and is left with a stagnant economy and weak job growth.
“Rhode Island would do well to heed a new study by Martin Associates,” the writer continues. “In 2006, port-sector businesses across the country generated 8.4 million jobs and added nearly $ 2 trillion to the national economy …
“What makes port development particularly attractive, the report makes clear, is the multiplier effect on the business in America. The half-million or so jobs held by terminal operators, longshoremen, freight forwarders, steamship agents …” etc., etc., etc. “… were supported by another 630,000 jobs in such other sectors as food, housing, transportation, apparel, medical and entertainment industries. And ports encourage manufacturing near them, which pays much higher wages than does the ‘hospitality industry’ and many others.”
The Editor is entirely correct. ‘Poor little Rhode Island’ is getting poorer by the minute because … well, because …
But hold on a minute. It’s time to take those NIMBYs off the hook.
In all fairness now, if you lived in the Narraganset Bay area;
• Would you approve of cluttering up “290 to 390 acres” of beautiful shoreline with a sprawling container terminal operation?
• Would you approve of requiring the Bay to contribute an additional “126 to 200 acres of ‘filled’ land” to this unsightly project?
• Would you approve of the “3 to 5 years” needed for the construction of this project?
• Would you approve of the “quite a bit of dredging” proposed by “maritime consultants”?
• And in the state’s admittedly “stagnant economy”, would you agree that Rhode Island taxpayers should be drained of the “$ 350 million to $ 600 million” that has been thrown around by those consultants?
Most Rhode Islanders wisely turned their backs on this kind of a scenario. And who could blame them? But when these voters hear that our patented container terminal operation requires about one-tenth the acreage demanded by conventional structures … prohibits ‘filled land’ … would be completed and operating within one year … prohibits dredging … and costs taxpayers exactly nothing because our firm pays for the entire project …
… Do you suppose some of those Rhode Islanders could be talked into reconsidering the matter?