Small Business Owners Testify Before House Committee on Impact of Washington Bridge

In Rhode Island, members of the House Committee on Small Business discussed the challenges faced by business owners due to the Washington Bridge. Bob Burke, owner of Pot au Feu in Providence, reported a significant decline in sales ranging from 30% to 50% on what used to be busy Friday nights. He attributed this decrease to customers’ reluctance to sit in traffic in order to dine out.

As a result of the drop in sales, Burke has had to reduce his employees’ work hours. One server who lives in Coventry and travels two hours to Providence on Fridays due to unpredictable traffic conditions was given as an example. These challenges have had a direct impact on the restaurant’s operations and highlight the need for improved infrastructure and transportation solutions in the area.

In response to these concerns, Rhode Island’s congressional delegation has called on the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) 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 have been approved so far and requested an update on the status of the remaining loan applications and an expected approval timeline.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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