2nd Annual Infrastructure Summit Brings Together Public & Private Sectors to Tackle Infrastructure Needs
PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank hosted over 300 people at their 2nd annual Rhode Island Infrastructure Summit on September 17 at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The event brought together government officials and professionals from a variety of disciplines for panel discussions on the State’s pressing infrastructure needs and challenges and connected them with innovative financing options available through the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank and other state agencies.
“I’m proud to say the 2nd annual Summit was a tremendous success,” said Jeffrey Diehl, CEO of Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. “The event acts as a platform for innovation across sectors. Connecting infrastructure experts, financiers, and the public and private sectors will make more projects a reality and strengthen Rhode Island’s infrastructure and economy.”
Keynote speaker Armand E. Sabitoni, General Secretary-Treasurer & New England Regional Manager of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, provided valuable insights into how Rhode Island can continue to generate economic activity and jobs through infrastructure investment. “Hurricane Czar” Alan Rubin, Principal at Blank Rome Government Relations LLC, addressed attendees focusing on natural disasters, economic development and the necessity for more resilient infrastructure systems.
The plenary session brought together State leaders from RIIB, the Departments of Health, Energy Resources, and Environmental Management, Public Utilities and Commerce to discuss the next decade of Rhode Island’s infrastructure, investments and priorities, coastal resiliency and collectively deploying state resources.
“Identifying and addressing areas where our infrastructure is at risk and finding innovative funding sources for these improvements will protect public health and strengthen our state’s resilience to climate change,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “In Rhode Island, as elsewhere, increasingly intense storms have damaged critical infrastructure such as wastewater treatment plants and pump stations, which are typically located in low-lying areas. We are working aggressively to strengthen our preparedness and mitigate environmental harm by helping communities better understand the threats posted by climate change and take action to protect critical wastewater infrastructure. I applaud the Infrastructure Bank and its partners for hosting today’s Summit and for working together to champion investments in our environment.”
“As we seek to transform our energy infrastructure and prepare for a future with more renewables, we not only approach it as a technical challenge, but also look very closely at its impact on people, communities and the environment,” said State Energy Commissioner Carol Grant. “We aim to create energy policies and programs that take all these factors into account and offer people more choices.”
Macky McCleary, Division of Public Utilities and Carriers Administrator noted “Infrastructure is the foundation of prosperity for all, and we intend to invest wisely to ensure this foundation is properly laid for this century and the next.”
“As we look forward to the future of Rhode Island’s economy and infrastructure, it is critical that the voices, visions, needs, and ideas of Rhode Islanders in every community throughout the state are a part of the conversation,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. “By making sure that everyone is heard, and by addressing the underlying, community level factors that determine the vast majority of our health outcomes, such as job opportunities, education, transportation, and housing, we can build a Rhode Island in which every person has an equal opportunity to actualize their true potential and thrive.”
The event also included expert panelists and speakers, including elected officials, state agency subject matter specialists, representatives from non-profit organizations and private sector experts, leading discussions on wide range of infrastructure topics including: resiliency, brownfields and solar, housing development, transportation and financing options.
U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen James Langevin and David Cicilline also addressed attendees.