- THE MAGAZINE
The ports of Jacksonville, Miami, Savannah, NY/NJ and Charleston will benefit from an Executive Order signed by President Barack Obama. As part of its “We Can’t Wait” initiative, the Administration announced seven nationally and regionally significant infrastructure projects will be expedited to help modernize and expand the ports.
These are the first seven of the initial 43 projects that will be expedited by the Executive Order issued in March 2012 in which the Office of Management and Budget was charged with overseeing a government-wide effort to make the permitting and review process for infrastructure projects more efficient and effective.
The Obama Administration also announced the establishment of a White House-led Task Force it said will consist of senior officials from various White House offices, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Departments of Transportation, Commerce, Homeland Security, and the Treasury. “The Task Force will develop a Federal strategy and coordinated decision making principles that focus on the economic return of investments into coastal ports and related infrastructure to support the movement of commerce throughout the Nation,” said the White House.
At the Port of Jacksonville, the feasibility study for deepening the harbor will be expedited. Such studies typically take 10 years, according to the President’s executive order, but this study will be finalized by April 2013. All permits for the Jacksonville Port Intermodal Container Facility will be completed by July 2013.
According to the Administration, The Army Corps is completing a feasibility study to examine the benefits and costs of deepening the Federal navigation channel at the port from its existing authorized project depth of 40 feet up to maximum project depth of 50 feet to accommodate larger cargo vessels and other ships. “The Army Corps is applying its modernized planning process for potential long-term infrastructure investments to this ongoing study, and expects to complete its recommendations for improvements several years earlier than originally anticipated,” said the announcement.
The Port of Jacksonville will construct a new Intermodal Container Facility concurrently with the navigation improvements. This $45 million project is being financed through a public-private partnership, including U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) TIGER grant funding of $10 million.
The Army Corps is working with PortMiami to construct an authorized project that involves deepening the Federal navigation at the port from its current depth of 42 feet to a depth of 50 feet. The Corps expects to complete the deepening of the Federal navigation channel by late 2012.
The Administration committed to completing all federal reviews for the Port of Savannah by November of 2012. A proposed project to deepen the existing channel at Savannah Harbor from its current depth of 42 feet to a depth of 47 feet involved a multiyear collaborative effort with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior and the Department of Commerce.
At the Port of New York/New Jersey, all federal permit and review decisions for the Bayonne Bridge will be completed by April of 2013.
The Army Corps is in the final stages of constructing an authorized project that will deepen existing Federal channels at the Port of New York/New Jersey that provide access to four container terminals to a depth of 50 feet. The Corps expects to complete this $1.6 billion project in 2014.
Under its planning modernization process, the Army Corps is implementing an aggressive planning schedule for the Charleston Harbor Feasibility Study that will examine the benefits and costs of deepening the Federal navigation channel for Charleston Harbor from its existing depth of 45 feet to a maximum of 50 feet. The study is expected to be complete within 3 years.