McKee Announces $500K Investment From Partnership RI to Launch Public-Private Initiative to Secure Federal Infrastructure Funding

Published on Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Compete RI will streamline Rhode Island’s grant writing and application processes to secure tens of millions in Biden Infrastructure Law Funding

EAST PROVIDENCE, RI - Governor Dan McKee, joined by members of Rhode Island’s Congressional Delegation, today announced a strategic initiative with the Partnership for Rhode Island called CompeteRI. CompeteRI will help Rhode Island state agencies, municipalities, and nonprofits more effectively compete for federal funding made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Today’s announcement was held at South Quay, an undeveloped parcel in East Providence that will soon transform to be a central hub of the Northeast’s growing offshore wind economy.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, officially known as the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA), will rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails, deliver clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind. This once-in-a-generation investment will be game-changing for Rhode Island. State leaders are fully committed to leveraging these funds to strengthen and modernize Rhode Island’s aging infrastructure.

“With support from the Partnership for Rhode Island, Rhode Island is well positioned to compete for and hopefully receive more than its fair share of federal infrastructure grants from the Biden Administration,” said Governor Dan McKee. “I thank the CEOs for coming together to ensure that our state and municipalities have the tools and resources need to successfully secure these grants, in turn creating even more jobs and spurring economic development across Rhode Island.”

“We have a historic opportunity to rebuild Rhode Island’s infrastructure,” said Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. “That’s why it’s so important that we coordinate resources and efforts to ensure these critical projects have the greatest impact and that they benefit every Rhode Islander, in every community. Leveraging the expertise and professional support of the Partnership for Rhode Island, our state agencies, cities and towns, and community organizations will be well-positioned to successfully compete for this federal funding.”

Earlier this year, the White House called upon states to develop sound, responsible and transparent processes, and seek partners to oversee and coordinate their efforts. The Partnership for Rhode Island, a nonprofit CEO roundtable, will play this part for The Ocean State. Through CompeteRI, the Partnership is supporting Rhode Island’s efforts to attract competitive federal infrastructure funds by providing additional capacity and expertise to state agencies, communities and organizations that are eligible to apply for the IIJA funds.

“AAA Northeast knows the importance of public infrastructure,” said John Galvin, CEO of AAA Northeast and Board Member of the Partnership for Rhode Island.” “Our members and partners rely on safe roads, modern transit, and secure broadband. I applaud the McKee Administration and Rhode Island's Congressional Delegation for having the foresight to partner with the state's largest employers on Compete RI. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law can be game changing for Rhode Island's future. Our state's infrastructure is in dire need of repair, and we must leverage this once in a lifetime opportunity to think long term. My CEO colleagues from the Partnership for Rhode Island are fully committed to Compete RI.”

The Partnership will lead a statewide, targeted education campaign to inform key stakeholders about the specific opportunities available to them and will oversee an operational process that provides agencies, local governments and institutions with access to high-level professional and technical support to write best-in-class grants that ensure Rhode Island fully leverages this incredible opportunity.

Additionally, Compete RI will streamline the IIJA application process and position Rhode Island to be a model for how states can efficiently and effectively coordinate across jurisdictions, project-manage their plans, streamline the application process and write bids to fund the future of infrastructure. In all, Rhode Island is potentially eligible for approximately $700 million in competitive grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The Partnership’s board has committed up to $250,000 to support CompeteRI. Earlier this year, the Partnership invested $250,000 for staffing and planning to help secure a major grant to launch URI’s Blue Economy and Smart Bay initiative. In all, the Partnership has dedicated half a million dollars to better position Rhode Island to compete for federal infrastructure funding.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivers historic investment that will create jobs now, make our state more economically competitive, and help communities thrive. From this bill, Rhode Island is set to receive over $2 billion in formula grants for roads and bridges, public transit, drinking water projects, broadband, airports, EV charging, and much more. Rhode Island will also be able to compete for billions of dollars in other federal grants. That’s where this relationship between the State and Partnership for Rhode Island will be so important. It will provide resources to help cities, towns, schools, tribes, and non-profits across Rhode Island be as competitive as possible in securing additional funds for important projects. Rhode Island has had a long history of success in getting these competitive funds, and this partnership will only make it stronger,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.

“Our bipartisan law presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernize Rhode Island’s infrastructure and create good jobs in the process,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “While we know about $2.5 billion will definitely come to Rhode Island, significantly more funding is available through competitive grant programs like the INFRA Program I created to tackle large-scale transportation projects. It has already funded the Providence Viaduct repair and the improvements coming on Route 146. I’m grateful to Tom Giordano and the Partnership for Rhode Island’s board for organizing to make the Ocean State even more competitive.”

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will be nothing short of transformative for Rhode Island,” said Rep. Jim Langevin. “I thank Governor McKee and the Partnership for Rhode Island for developing Compete RI, which will allow our cities, towns, and tribes to access millions of federal dollars to upgrade our aging infrastructure. I look forward to seeing the progress of this project, and I’m more eager than ever to keep building on our momentum.”

“President Biden’s leadership helped Congress pass the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and we are seeing its investments at work already here in Rhode Island,” said Congressman Cicilline. “The establishment of this public-private partnership between the Governor’s Office and Partnership for RI will help local organizations apply for the law’s competitive funding and take full advantage of this opportunity so that we can maximize the federal funding brought back to Rhode Island and invest in our future.”

The CompeteRI team is already playing an instrumental role to support the grant application - among others - that the City of East Providence, Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and RI Waterfront Enterprises are submitting to revitalize South Quay and the surrounding area along the northeastern edge of Narragansett Bay.

"East Providence has the opportunity to become a hub for the region's growing offshore wind industry and with support from grants such as the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, projects such as South Quay have the ability to bolster the City's economy and boost job growth for decades to come," East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva said. "East Providence is committed to our Compete RI partnership."

The South Quay Marine Terminal is a shovel-ready port project with potential for multiple uses. The State, City of East Providence and the Rhode Island Waterfront Enterprises recently submitted an application for a competitive IIJA grant. This grant would support the redevelopment and position East Providence as a staging area and innovative hub for the Northeast’s growing off-shore wind industry. South Quay has easy access to deep-water channels and is accessible to several offshore wind lease areas, including the Vineyard Wind, New England Wind, South Fork Wind Farm, and Revolution Wind projects. The Revolution Wind project - first announced in 2018 - will generate up to 400 MW of energy for Rhode Island ratepayers, enough energy to power approximately half the homes in the state.

“The Partnership for Rhode Island is committed to making our state more competitive and creating economic opportunity for more Rhode Islanders,” said Tom Giordano, Executive Director of the Partnership for Rhode Island. “We are certain there will be a tremendous return on investment when the public and private sectors are collaborating to secure once-in-a-generation funding for long overdue infrastructure investments. Compete RI is a flagship priority for our members and has potential to provide a national best practice to ensure that federal dollars are put to work effectively, efficiently, and with a recurring return. We thank the McKee Administration and Rhode Island's dynamic Congressional Delegation for everything they are doing to position Rhode Island for success.”

More information, including a regularly updated database of open grants, is available at

About Partnership for RI

The Partnership for RI is a CEO roundtable led by the chief executives of Rhode Island’s largest private employers. Founded in 2017, the organization supports economic development, education, and infrastructure initiatives that grow the state’s economy and create opportunities for more Rhode Islanders. More at