Delegation delivers HSC the largest single federal allocation in 95-year history
Port of Houston Authority (PHA) officials are applauding the efforts of the bipartisan Texas Congressional Delegation, led by U.S. Rep Gene Green, which resulted in the designation of $98.3 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to a vital waterways project. The delegation’s efforts provide important relief to years of under-funded infrastructure projects at the Houston Ship Channel (HSC).
The stimulus funding serves as one of the largest-ever single allocation of federal funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to construct, operate and maintain the HSC.
The Administration is also to be commended for providing stimulus funding that goes a long way toward closing a five-year shortfall of HSC funds.
“This funding is vital for the continued safety, navigability and environmental integrity of one of the nation’s most productive commercial waterways—the Houston Ship Channel,” PHA Chairman James T. Edmonds said. “These economic stimulus funds will bring about jobs creation, help develop and maintain an efficient flow of commerce and generate energy and income that is vital, not only to the region’s economy, but the nation as a whole.”
The Texas Delegation advocated aggressively for funding to ensure that the Port of Houston, home to the second largest petrochemical complex in the world and accommodating 225 million tons of cargo annually, remains adequately maintained. In turn, the funding will help to strengthen the port’s stimulus to the economy, by contributing 1.5 million direct and indirect jobs and $285 billion of economic activity to the nation.
“Our appreciation is extended to the members of our bipartisan Texas Delegation for their tireless efforts and their commitment to the continued economic growth and development of the Port of Houston,” added Edmonds.
In addition to the combined efforts of state congressional leaders, there was widespread support among local industry leaders—many of whom wrote letters emphasizing the critical need for the funding. PHA also applauds the Corps, which in partnership with the PHA is responsible for maintaining the HSC to its federally authorized depth and width. Through the ARRA, the Corps at every level advanced the HSC as a critical funding priority.
PHA and ship channel private industries provided a compelling case on behalf of the Corps that the HSC and its tributary channels require $231 million in federal funding to return the channel to its most efficient depth. The funding will be applied to major maintenance, operations and environmental projects associated with the 53-mile-long ship channel, which serves the Port of Houston—the nation’s largest port in terms of foreign waterborne tonnage and second largest in terms of total tonnage.
The funding will also provide additional construction and dredged material placement capacity to avoid the increased costs of transporting dredge material to distant placement sites. PHA hopes to secure the remaining $140 million needed through increased FY2010 and FY2011 appropriations.