Statewide port authority bill to have full House vote

Hartford — The legislature's Commerce Committee voted Thursday on a bill that would create a state port authority to promote the commercial use of Connecticut's ports. The bill now moves to the House floor.

Nineteen legislators voted in favor of the bill, and one was absent.

The goal of the bill is to establish statewide coordination for marketing, planning, funding, improving infrastructure and developing entrepreneurial activities at the state's ports, Rep. Chris Perone, D-Norwalk, the co-chairman said.

"This would begin to provide some structure to our overall port system in the state of Connecticut, so I think this is a concept that is long overdue," Perone said.

The idea came from a study commissioned by the Transportation Committee, said state Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-Wilton, which indicated that coordination could lead to business and revenue growth, she said.

The Transportation Committee passed a similar bill this legislative session. According to that bill, the state Department of Transportation and the Economic and Community Development Department would develop policies to initiate a statewide port authority.

"This is, I think, a good signal from this committee that we consider this as (a) business operation and something that can lead to improving the economic environment of the state," Lavielle said.

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