Substantial completion of deepening the harbor to - 50 Feet anticipated this summer (2009)
It has been confirmed that the recently approved American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes a total of $11.8 million in economic stimulus funding for the Port of Oakland’s -50 Foot Harbor Deepening Project and operations and maintenance of the harbor. Of the total, $7.8 million is specifically for the -50 Foot Project and $4 million is for operations and maintenance of the harbor. According to port officials this funding will make it possible to substantially complete the Harbor Deepening Project this summer (2009).
Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar Benjamin said, “This is very important for Oakland, our region, the state and our nation, as multiple gateways provide vital access for goods movement. These funds will help ensure the deepening of the Oakland harbor to minus 50 feet so that we can accommodate the newer, larger containerships that carry goods between the US and other countries. As a result, we will be better positioned to attract new business at the Port when the economy turns around.” Benjamin added, “We are truly appreciative of the consistent support of Senators Feinstein and Boxer, Congresswomen Lee and Tauscher and the entire Bay Area and Central Valley Delegations for their successful efforts in advocating for these critical funds. This funding is essential to our ability to deliver economic, environmental, and social benefits to our citizens.”
Project components have included the widening and deepening of the Harbor Entrance, Outer and Inner Harbor channels, and two turning basins to -50 feet Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) as well as local business and utility relocations. Port of Oakland Maritime Director James Kwon stated, “As the fifth busiest containerport in the United States, a deeper harbor means that our Port will remain an important international gateway for our nation and accessible to shippers. With the Port of Oakland’s already completed maritime infrastructure improvements combined with the Oakland Harbor Deepening Project and plans for new rail access at the Port, we will be able to grow our intermodal cargo business.”
Combined with previous infrastructure improvements and expanded maritime facilities, the completion of the -50 Foot Project will help realize as many as 8,800 jobs, $1.9 billion of increased annual business revenue, and $62 million of increased annual local taxes.
The benefit-to-cost ratio for the -50 Foot Project is an extraordinary 11:1. In addition to the economic benefits, there are significant environmental benefits including wetland and habitat restoration. The project was authorized under the 1999 Federal Water Resources Development Act, with the federal government and the Port sharing approximately half the cost.
The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland seaport, Oakland International Airport and 20 miles of waterfront. The Oakland seaport is the fifth busiest containerport in the U.S. Oakland International Airport offers 150 daily nonstop flights to 32 destinations; and the Port’s real estate includes commercial developments such as Jack London Square and hundreds of acres of public parks and conservation areas. The Port of Oakland was established in 1927 and is an independent department of the City of Oakland.