CORPUS CHRISTI (Kiii News) — The Port of Corpus Christi is about to begin the 32-mile dredging project to deepen and widen the access in and out of the ship channel.
According to the Dan Koesema, Chief of Channel Development at Port of Corpus Christi, the three-year dredging of the Corpus Christi ship channel begins in August.
Koesema is excited that the work is finally going to start.
"We've really been working on this for 28 years now, so the planning goes way back to about 1989 1990," Koesema said.
The cost of the entire dredging is around $327 million. The federal government will share in the expense of $225 million, but those dollars are not exactly pouring in.
The port had to issue $100 million in bonds to ensure that the project was able to move forward until Congress releases the rest of the money.
"The government has put federal monies in the fy 19 president's budget as well as including monies in the fy 2018 work plans so now we have port monies and federal monies to build this project," Koesema said.
The 2018 work plan budget is $23 million, and the 2019 president's budget is around $13 million which still leaves about $190 million that the feds have to come up with, and County Judge Loyd Neal doesn't see that happening anytime soon.
"Of course politics is going to get in the way of everything you know the supreme court justice is going to take the breath away in Washington from now until the election," Neal said.
According to officials, the dredging project is a huge deal because it will increase the depth of the channel by 7 feet and allow for bigger and newer ships to use the port.
Which means about $100 million a year in cost savings for those companies who have had to use their older model ships.
"All these investments all of these improvements we're making at the port the ship channel, the bridge, the pipelines, the rail, the roads, the utility pipelines infrastructure they're all critical to us moving to the future and ports have failed to make that investment and really have become obsolete," Koesema said.
With the dredging set to begin, port officials will continue to ask lawmakers to send the rest of their share of the money so that the port will continue to be one of the busiest in the country.
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