Regent wants to build sea gliders in RI with tax credit

  • Gliders are neither boats nor planes
  • Company seeks $13 million tax incentive to move to Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation could approve a $13 million tax incentive for a Massachusetts company to move into the state as it expands and hopes to build a “sea glider.” all electric which is not quite a boat, but not quite an airplane either.

The Commerce Corporation is set to vote on the tax incentive proposal for Regent, currently based in Burlington, at its 4 p.m. meeting on Wednesday under the Skilled Employment Incentive Tax Credit Program.

Under the proposal, the company would move to Rhode Island and create 300 full-time jobs by 2028. The company would also spend $367 million on construction of a new building and on machinery and equipment.

According to the company’s website, the first flight of its prototype glider, a quarter of the scale of the planned final version, is expected to see its maiden flight in 2022.

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Gliders, also called “ground effect vehicles”“, or WIG, are basically airplanes that fly just above the surface of the water, at around 180 mph.

The company wants its craft, when released, to operate under the jurisdiction of the US Coast Guard, but they could ultimately be regulated by both the Coast Guard and the Federal Aviation Administration. The first version of the glider will carry 12 people, with a range of 180 miles, and the second version will carry at least 50 people, according to its website.

Not quite an airplane, and not quite a boat, this prototype glider flies just above the surface of the water at up to 180 mph.

The company raised $27 million in January and plans to bring in more capital to fund more research and development, manufacturing and operations, according to the proposal.

The company received funding from Thiel Capital, founded by billionaire Peter Thiel. The company recorded more than $4.6 billion in glider sales, once built, to airlines and ferry companies, according to its website.

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The Skilled Employment Incentive Tax Credit, passed in 2015, gives businesses up to $7,500 per job per year, for up to 10 years, by reimbursing them for income taxes that their employees licensed pay after the state receives the employee taxes.

Flux Marine of East Greenwich, which develops battery-powered outboard motors, recently received $1.9 million over 10 years from the tax credit scheme.

In 2021, the Commerce Corporation approved up to $3.5 million in tax credits, over 10 years, to Texas-based MTX Group, which provides artificial intelligence and data analytics to help businesses modernize their operations, as she planned to build a “regional collaboration center” in Providence.

In 2018, the trading company approved tax incentives for four companies, which would have created 2,000 manufacturing jobs in the state.

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With state and investor support, Flux plans to open a new manufacturing plant in the Unity Park complex on Wood Street in Bristol and grow its Rhode Island workforce to 88 people.

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Journalist Paul Edward Parker contributed to this story. Contact reporter Wheeler Cowperthwaite at [email protected]

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