April 20, 2024 5:05 am
Small Business Owners Testify Before House Committee on Impact of Washington Bridge

Members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation have called on the federal Small Business Administration to increase its efforts to assist the state. In a letter sent to the SBA, they pointed out that only 10% of loan applications submitted so far have been approved. The delegation also requested an update on the status of the remaining loan applications and inquired about the expected approval timeline.

During a hearing at Smith Hill, members of the House Committee on Small Business listened to testimony from affected business owners, including Bob Burke, owner of Pot au Feu in Providence. Burke reported a significant decline in sales, ranging from 30% to 50%, on what used to be busy Friday nights due to customers’ reluctance to sit in traffic in order to dine out. As a result of this drop in sales, Burke had to reduce his employees’ work hours. This was particularly challenging for one server who lives in Coventry and had to allocate two hours just to travel to Providence on Fridays due to unpredictable traffic conditions.

The challenges faced by businesses like Pot au Feu highlight the need for improved infrastructure and transportation solutions in the area, which is something that Rhode Island’s congressional delegation has been advocating for. The delegation has been calling on federal officials for increased funding and support for these initiatives, which could help improve small business operations and boost economic growth in Rhode Island.

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