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Key Congressman Supports St. Johns Harbor Deepening Following Jaxport Tour

Cyd Hoskinson

JaxPort got the chance on Monday to show a key member of Congress why the proposed harbor deepening project should be included in the Water Resources Development Act.

Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia is the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and a member of the House-Senate conference committee that is putting together a final version of the measure.

Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT
JaxPort CEO Brian Taylor, Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown and Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia take a break from touring the port's Blount Island operations to talk with reporters.

Rahall said he liked what he saw on his tour of JaxPort’s Blount Island facility.

“What I’ve seen is not only $19 billion worth of economic activity and jobs that are being produced and moving our goods, into and out of this country but also the homeland security aspect of it as well and it’s a port that deserves a great deal of support,” he said.

According to Rahall, the plan to correct the navigational problems associated with Mile Point is already included in the House version of the Water Development Act. Spokeswoman Nancy Rubin says JaxPort would like to see the deepening project added as an amendment to the bill.
“It’s a matter of timing. We’re so close to having an approved project through the Army Corps, that we’re saying why not give us a shot at being authorized in this act,” Rubin said. 

They’ve also said they will go ahead with the engineering and design phase of the harbor deepening project, regardless of what Congress decides.

Jacksonville’s shipping channel is currently 40 feet, not deep enough for the larger cargo tankers that will soon be using the Panama Canal.

You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctnews.