Oakland Harbor Deepening Project to be completed summer 2009
The House recently approved approximately $32 million in federal funding for Port of Oakland harbor projects as part of its Fiscal Year 2009 funding process. Of the total, $25.1 million would go towards completion of the - 50 Foot Oakland Harbor Deepening Project. The remaining $6.9 million is for routine operations and maintenance of the Oakland harbor.
The Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act will still need Senate and Presidential approval. This funding, when combined with the $6.8 million included for the project as part of the recently-passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA – stimulus package), and Port of Oakland funding, will make the completion of the -50 Foot Project possible this year (summer 2009).
The federal funds and Port funds will go directly to the US Army Corps of Engineers which is the federal agency responsible for construction of the Port of Oakland’s -50 Foot Project. The total federal funding for Oakland harbor projects would be $38.8 million ($32 million Omnibus Appropriations Act + $6.8 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act).
Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar Benjamin said, “We truly appreciate the unwavering dedication of Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer, Congresswoman Barbara Lee and the entire Bay Area Delegation for their consistent efforts in advocating for these critical funds. These funds will help ensure the deepening of the Oakland harbor to minus 50 feet which means that we will be able to readily accommodate the newer, larger containerships at the Port of Oakland.”
The -50 Foot Project supports deep draft navigation improvements at the Port of Oakland. 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.
“As the third busiest port on the US West Coast and one of the nation’s top container ports, the minus 50 Foot Project will keep our gateway to Asia accessible to US shippers,” stated Port of Oakland Maritime Director James Kwon.
Combined with previous infrastructure improvements and expanded maritime facilities, the completion of the -50 Foot Project may generate 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.