NEW LONDON — Gov. Ned Lamont and Rep. Joe Courtney shared their economic optimism for southeastern Connecticut at a press conference in New London on Wednesday morning.
Courtney offered details of President Joe Biden’s newly announced plan to aid the offshore wind industry with low interest loans and expedited federal approval. The Connecticut Port Authority, in cooperation with Eversource and Ørsted, has begun redeveloping State Pier in New London to support the installation offshore wind turbines.
“What we’re talking about here is a multigenerational change in terms of how America is going to power its economy and New London is going to be right at the center of that,” Courtney said. “No city deserves it more.”
Lamont shared that there are “preliminary agreements” in place for the project, which has a “strong labor peace agreement” that will bring “good Connecticut jobs.” The project is in its “final permitting stage,” and should be underway before the end of the year, New London Mayor Mike Passero said.
Courtney also highlighted a veterans affairs construction project, which will expand the existing 5,000 square foot medical facility to 15,000 square feet.
“It keeps this commitment that in this region, which has the largest percentage of veterans by far compared to the rest of the state of Connecticut, they’re going to get smart, accessible care in the VA system,” Courtney said.
The press conference was held at an AR Building Company construction site, and federal, state and local leaders spoke over the din of construction noise.
Jason Kambitsis, senior vice president of AR Building Company, said this site was just one example of the projects his company is working on in the region, where he said they have invested over $150 million dollars.
“Working in New London has been a fantastic experience,” Kambitsis said. “New London has so much to offer, from waterfronts to its location to really becoming a secondary location to people wanting to leave the bigger cities.”
For Passero, new investments in the city bring a renewed optimism in its economic future, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic.
“We’re showing off the development here in New London to let everyone know that the pandemic may have slowed us down, it’s had a great human toll, but we’re not daunted at all and we’re going to pick up where we left off,” Passero said. “The city of New London is the capital of southeastern Connecticut and we’re going to lead the way in building this local economy here.”
State Sen. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, said policy makers are directly responsible for this projected economic success.
“This city’s always had great bones, it’s always had a great history, and it just needed a wonderful team of leadership and people to believe in them at the state level,” Formica said. “We’re seeing the results of that right here.”