Rep. McEntee and Rep. Fogarty testify for $50 million URI Narragansett Bay campus bond

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – At a meeting for the House Finance Committee on February 8, Representative Carol Hagan McEntee testified for Article 5 in the FY 2023 state budget. The article is a general obligation bond of $50 million to fund repairs and construct new facilities at the University of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay Campus.

Representative McEntee was joined by Representative Kathleen A. Fogarty who also supported the bond. Both Representatives and URI officials have stressed to the committee that a $90 million bond was needed for URI’s update to be substantial. If approved by the General Assembly, the public will be asked on their opinion.

“The Oceanography School at URI is one of our state’s greatest selling points but we are still just scratching the surface of what this state treasure is capable of achieving.  If one visits the Oceanography School, it is readily apparent that the labs and facilities are far beyond acceptable for a global research institution.  If we want to attract top-flight students, educators and companies on a global scale, we have to approve this bond and invest in URI.  This one-time infusion of funds will create immediate beneficial financial returns for URI and the state and it has the possibility of making URI one of the global leaders on oceanographic research and education.   With this funding, URI would be able to attract millions of dollars from grants and private companies, bringing new and existing industries to our state. We have to spend money to make money and I cannot think of a more deserving institution to support that URI’s Oceanography School.  We cannot afford to miss this opportunity to put URI on the global map for this field and I urge the General Assembly to support this budget article,” said Representative McEntee.

“I work in the defense industry and so many of my colleagues came from URI’s engineering and other related programs.  These are high-paying quality jobs and when combined with other defense companies in the region such as Electric Boat, the need to invest in URI’s ability to educate and train these future employees becomes very important to our state’s economy.  This investment will pay dividends for generations to come in Rhode Island and I urge everyone to support this bond proposal,” said Representative Fogarty.

URI President Marc Parlange and Dean of the Oceanography School Paula Bontempi also appeared before the committee in favor of the bond. President Parlange has stated the inclusion of the bond request could position Rhode Island and URI as a hub of economic activity that could help with climate change, food security, support ocean related industries, and generate revenue for the state.

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