CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, USA – The Port of Corpus Christi Authority (PCCA) Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have executed a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) for the deepening and widening of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel (CC Ship Channel). The PPA, effective September 9, 2017 was signed by John LaRue, PCCA Executive Director, and Colonel Lars N. Zetterstrom, Commander, USACE Galveston District. The CC Ship Channel Improvement Project (CIP) will widen the CC Ship Channel to 530 feet, plus plus additional barge shelves, to allow for two way vessel and barge traffic, and deepen the CC Ship Channel to 54 feet MLLW (Mean Lower Low Water) to allow for safe passage of deep draft vessels.
The PPA was recently approved unanimously at a special meeting of the Port of Corpus Christi Commission upon which Port Commissioners also approved the acceleration of $32 million in Port funds to the USACE to expedite initial construction phase of the Project.
“The Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project is of critical importance for the Texas energy sector and for the nation’s move toward energy independence. The Port of Corpus Christi has designated this project its number one priority. With the signing of this agreement its merit is proven as a national infrastructure priority as well,” said Charles W. Zahn, Chairman of the Port Corpus Christi Commission.
The CC Ship Channel Improvement Project was initially authorized by Congress under the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007. Congress re-authorized the CC Ship Channel Improvement Project in WRDA 2014, and reaffirmed its commitment to the Project under the WIIN 2016 Act (Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act).
“Our team has worked towards this momentous project for a very long time. It feels great to have co-signed this important agreement with Colonel Zetterstrom and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. With our port’s accelerated funding we can get started on the deepening and widening of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel because of this important agreement, and look forward to future funding and construction of the remaining phases for this nationally critical infrastructure project,” said Port Corpus Christi Executive Director John LaRue.
The entire Project is estimated to cost $327 million with the USACE proportionate cost-share projected to be $225 million and the PCCA proportionate cost-share projected at $102 million. The PPA allows the PCCA to accelerate its portion of the Project cost-share, thereby allowing construction to commence ahead of federal appropriations up to $102 million. These funds are intended for use in the design and construction of the deepening of the CC Ship Channel from the Gulf of Mexico to Harbor Island.
This PPA is the first one to include several modernized agreement provisions following a comprehensive review and updating of partnership language by the USACE. The PPA was negotiated and approved on an expedited basis through a team effort between PCCA Staff and the USACE Galveston District, USACE Southwest Region Division Staff, and USACE Headquarters.