Posted on March 28, 2017
By Michael Bonner, SouthCoastToday
Behind closed doors, politicians from around the state discussed how to improve the Port of New Bedford Friday afternoon at Seatrade International.
“We want to make sure the 21st century is just as prosperous and even more so than the 20th and 19th centuries were for New Bedford,” Markey said. “We’re going to work down in Washington every day to advocate for the commercial fisherman of New Bedford.”
Senators Markey and Elizabeth Warren, along with state representatives Bill Strauss, Paul Schmid, Christopher Markey, Robert Koczera and Antonio Cabral joined Mayor Jon Mitchell, City Council President Joe Lopes and Ward 4 Council Dana Rebeiro, discussed policies affecting the port.
The meeting lasted about an hour and according to Ed Anthes-Washburn, the executive director of the Harbor Development Commission, about two-thirds of the discussion revolved around dredging.
“We heard example after example of what it will mean if we could get proper dredging for new businesses, expanded businesses, more opportunities,” Warren said. “That’s what we want to see in New Bedford. That’s what we want to see here in Massachusetts.”
The New Bedford Harbor Development Commission predicts the dredging would create 898 permanent jobs, $65.1 million in wages and $11.5 million in state and local taxes.
“We have a number of docks in the harbor that are on very shallow water,” Mitchell said. “There are businesses that want to pull boats up to those docks but can’t because of the shallow water.”
According to Washburn, who attended the meeting, lawmakers agreed that Phase V dredging would be most beneficial for the port in terms of cost and reward.
Documents from the event show the dredging would encompass 25-30 commercial properties in New Bedford and Fairhaven and cost $19.25 million over five years.
According to Mitchell, Warren and Markey, each shared concerns regarding the national marine monuments.
“I had a number of discussions with both senators about this and worked closely with their offices,” Mitchell said. “I will tell you, they shared my concerns.”