Corpus Christi (KIII News) — It appears a previously announced project that would allow some of the world's biggest oil tankers to load and unload at Harbor Island on the Port of Corpus Christi's outskirts will have to be scaled back.

It's all a matter of money. Port Commissioners say there's not enough of it right now, and there won't be until the federal government starts funding the already approved dredging of the inner harbor.

Still, those behind the Harbor Island project said it will happen.

"We've got two projects," Port Commission Chairman Charles Zahn said.

Zhan said one project includes the plans for Harbor Island.

"Then we've got a series of projects going from Harbor to La Quinta, to the inner harbor, to the Port of Corpus Christi," Zahn said.

The delay caused by the slow down in federal funding involves the proposed 75-foot depth dredging from Harbor Island to the La Quinta ship channel, and the 54-foot dredging from Harbor Island to the inner harbor of Corpus Christi.

"The federal government has an obligation on the 54 project to pay two thirds of the cost, and we're going to wait," Zahn said. "As the government pays their share, we'll continue to move toward the inner harbor."

"We're doing a lot," Port CEO Sean Strawbridge said. "Just the volume of work has grown."

Strawbridge said there's a certain political element to the delay in federal funding.

"The Port of Corpus Christi is one of three ports in the country that is eligible for budget federal dollars for channel improvement projects, and we have to compete with those other ports," Strawbridge said. "Those other ports are Savannah and Boston."

The 75-foot dredging at Harbor Island is key to the continued growth of the Port in order to accomodate the large ships capable of holding two million barrels of crude oil; but some Commissioners are concerned the Port hasn't secured enough agreements to make the project feasible.

Still, Strawbridge said there is money to be made.

"The markets are moving fast. The energy markets are," Strawbridge said. "So it's very important that we can get our energy to our allies and our trading partners around the world safely and competitively."

Strawbridge said every day that there's a delay in any of their projects costs the Port revenue and jobs.

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