The Seaport Advisory Council, chaired by Lt. Governor Tim Murray, was originally created by Executive Order #376 in December of 1994 and was first funded through the Seaport Bond Bill – Chapter 28 of the Acts of 1996. The Environmental Bond Bill became the source of the Seaport Council’s funding in the summer of 2008. The purpose of the Seaport Council is to enhance and develop the commercial maritime resources of the Commonwealth, with an emphasis on the next tier deep water ports – Fall River, Gloucester, New Bedford and Salem. The Seaport Council achieves this by investing in projects that are focused on the commercial fishing industry, dredging, port marketing, public access, port institutional infrastructure and port physical infrastructure, safety and security, and short sea shipping.
Since its creation, the Seaport Council has expended just over a $110 million on nearly 400 projects. Under the leadership of Lt. Governor Murray, the Seaport Council has invested over $41 million on 85 projects in more than 30 coastal communities. These projects have helped to improve outdated infrastructure and prepare these port communities for the 21st century economy with the ability to handle cruise ships, cargo and provide important economic development opportunities. Although past projects funded have consistently confirmed the focus on the four next tier ports, the importance of the Commonwealth’s Fishing Industry has driven funding across all the maritime communities of the state. These projects are not only important to the Commonwealth’s heritage as a seafaring state, but provide important economic development opportunities both land and seaside along our coast.