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Rail News Home Intermodal

7/23/2012



Rail News: Intermodal

Obama Administration expedites seven infrastructure projects at five U.S. ports


Last week, the Obama Administration announced that seven key infrastructure projects designed to modernize and expand five U.S. ports will be expedited through the Administration’s We Can’t Wait initiative. The projects are under development at the Port of Miami and Port of Jacksonville, Fla.; Port of Savannah, Ga.; Port of New York and New Jersey; and Port of Charleston, S.C.

The Office of Management and Budget is charged with overseeing a government-wide effort to make the projects’ permitting and review process more efficient and effective, Administration officials said in a prepared statement. In addition, a White House-led task force comprising senior officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Treasury will develop a federal strategy and coordinate decision-making principles to focus on ensuring an economic return from major port projects, they said.

The chosen projects include the deepening of the Port of Miami’s navigation channel from 42 feet to 50 feet; constructing an intermodal container transfer facility at the Port of Jacksonville and deepening the port’s harbor from 40 feet to 50 feet; deepening of the Port of Savannah’s channel from 42 feet to 47 feet; deepening the Port of New York and New Jersey’s channel to 50 feet and raising the height of the nearby Bayonne Bridge; and deepening the Port of Charleston’s navigation channel from 45 feet to 50 feet.

After the project is completed at the Port of Miami, it will become the only U.S. East Coast port south of Norfolk, Va., to feature a depth of 50 feet when the expanded Panama Canal opens in early 2015, said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez in a prepared statement.

“Miami-Dade County has been ahead of the curve in making major infrastructure improvements to its seaport, most notably the deepening of Port of Miami’s channel to 50 feet, which will allow for the largest cargo ships in the world to dock at our port,” he said.

The American Association of Port Authorities (APPA) long has stressed the importance of expediting permitting and project delivery processes for water- and land-access infrastructure projects at America’s seaports, said APPA President and Chief Executive Officer Kurt Nagle in a statement.

“These types of projects not only aid in the efficient movement of freight, they pay long-term dividends by supporting job creation and economic growth, and help to ensure America’s international competitiveness overseas,” he said.

The port projects are the first batch of an initial 43 infrastructure projects that will be expedited by executive order in the coming weeks, Obama Administration officials said.


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