Cicilline Introduces Bill to Generate Millions in Federal Funding for Southern New England

Nov 15, 2019

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) introduced legislation today to establish Rhode Island and surrounding counties in Massachusetts and Connecticut as a federal regional commission. The Southern New England Regional Commission Act, which Cicilline introduced with Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III (MA-03), will allow jurisdictions at different levels to work together with federal support to strengthen the area’s economy.


“When local, state, and federal governments work together across state lines, we are able to tackle problems that affect all of us,” Congressman Cicilline said. “This bill will allow our communities in Southern New England to band together as a commission with the support of federal resources to address the major issues facing our region and implement a sustainable plan that will create jobs for years to come.”


“Too often, we allow geographic, invisible borders to force competition between friends that ultimately denies partners the opportunity to unify in pursuit of shared interests, federal investments and economic growth,” said Congressman Kennedy. “By creating this regional commission, we can unite the strengths of our region and build a better future that cannot be restrained by state borders.”


“There is strength in numbers, so it is in all our interests that local, state and federal jurisdictions work together to ensure federal funding optimized and targets communities in need,” said Congressman Lynch.  “We have common interests with our Rhode Island and southern New England neighbors and this legislation will help us work in a more efficient manner to maximize economic growth, create jobs and secure the necessary funds to aid regions in distress.”


“The biggest economic challenge of our time is that people are in jobs that do not pay them enough to keep up with rising costs. To address this problem, our federal government must work hand-in-hand with state and local authorities, and that is exactly what this bill would set in motion.” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “Smart investments in shared economic goals like infrastructure and workforce development will help our communities and working people across Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. I am proud to join Congressman Cicilline in this important effort for Southern New England.”


“From improvements to infrastructure we all mutually rely upon, to efforts to bolster coastal resiliency or implement strategic workforce training efforts, there are a host of goals that municipalities and jurisdictions all across New England have in common, and that stand to benefit our entire region if they could be accomplished,” said Congressman Courtney. “This bill provides our region with a mechanism to pool efforts and expertise, and to work together to achieve some of the major goals we all have in common, regardless of state lines or ZIP codes. This bill represents an investment in the future economic success of our region, and I’m proud to support it.”


Federal regional commissions and authorities address perceived regional economic underdevelopment. These organizations generally accommodate multileveled and multijurisdictional participation and implementation, which Congress can utilize to address growing interest in broad-based and intensive economic development efforts.


The Southern New England Regional Commission would be similar to the Northern Border Regional Commission, which was created in 2008 to alleviate economic distress in northern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. Administrative costs of implementing a strategic plan to modernize infrastructure, create jobs, and prepare for and capitalize on shifting economic trends are shared equally between the states and the federal government, while activities are federally funded. The Northern Border Regional Commission received an appropriation of $20 million in Fiscal Year 2019.


Cicilline introduced the Southern New England Regional Commission Act with the support of Representatives Kennedy, Stephen Lynch (MA-08), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), and Joe Courtney (CT-02).