On November 4th, Congresswoman Corrine Brown passed an amendment to H.R. 2838, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011, to prohibit further delay and unnecessary reviews of the dredging project at the Jacksonville Port. With respect to her amendment, Congresswoman Brown made the following statement:
"For over seven years the Corps of Engineers has studied the need for deepening the federal shipping channel at the Jacksonville Port. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the Corps plans to add more bureaucratic procedures to an already burdensome and time consuming process. This new and unnecessary study will increase the cost to both the port and the federal government, and will add a minimum of one additional year to the project.
Moreover, this additional assessment has not been applied to other deep water draft projects throughout the United States, and by law doesn't need to be applied to an ongoing study of this length.
The Jacksonville Port and North Florida community simply can't afford any more delays in preparing the Port for larger, more modern ships set to arrive in 2014. A deeper draft is critical to the continued viability of JAXPORT as an economic engine for Northeast Florida. Today, the Port provides 65,000 area jobs and $19 billion a year in economic activity. With a deeper draft, the Port has estimated that one shipping company alone would add 90,000 jobs to the region.
The Port is not trying to skip any steps; rather, they are merely attempting to avoid costly and unnecessary studies that will put them further behind their competitors and unable to serve their current customers, or be able to provide well paying jobs to the hard working people of the North Florida area."