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

Small Business Struggles: A Rhode Island Delegation Urges for More SBA Support Amidst Challenging Infrastructure and Traffic Conditions

In a bid to boost the state’s small businesses, Rhode Island’s congressional delegation has urged the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) to increase its efforts. In a letter to the SBA, they expressed concern over the fact that only 10% of loan applications submitted have been approved so far. The delegation requested an update on the status of the remaining loan applications and inquired about the expected approval timeline.

The Washington Bridge was a major topic of discussion during a hearing at Smith Hill, where members of the House Committee on Small Business listened to testimony from affected business owners. 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. He shared an example of one server who lives in Coventry and, due to the unpredictable traffic conditions, allocates two hours to travel to Providence on Fridays. 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.

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