With regard to the announcement by the U.S. Corps of Engineers approval of the Chief's Report for the Mile Point navigational improvement project, Congresswoman Brown made the following statement:
"I have been working closely with the U.S. Corps of Engineers for several years to secure authorizing language and funding for the navigational improvements at Mile Point. I am pleased that they are one step closer to fixing this dangerous problem and will continue to work in Washington to secure its final approval.
As a senior member on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Corps of Engineers, I have long advocated for the Port of Jacksonville, including authorizing language in previous Water Resource Development Acts (WRDA) and funding for JaxPort projects in Energy & Water Appropriations bills. And I have complained vociferously that the Republican House and Transportation Committee leadership have not acted to reauthorize the Water Resources Development Act, which is the only vehicle available to include authorizing language for projects like Mile Point, and is within the sole jurisdiction of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
I have been instrumental in organizing meetings between the Corps of Engineers, JaxPort, and the local Congressional delegation to discuss numerous issues affecting the Port of Jacksonville. In 2009 I hosted a meeting between the Corps of Engineers, JaxPort Executive Director Rick Ferrin, Congressman Crenshaw and Senator Nelson seeking an additional $18 million needed to finish the final phase of the 2002 harbor deepening. I have met personally several times with Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy seeking solutions to the Mile Point navigational restrictions and an expedition of the current dredging project. I also offered an amendment to the Coast Guard reauthorization that would have given the Corps the authority to act on Mile Point, and I personally spoke to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood to express the critical need for the TIGER III grant which will fund a new rail line from the port. Most recently, I am spearheading a letter to Secretary Darcy requesting that she include JaxPort's Mile Point and dredging projects as projects of regional and national significance". (Correspondence Attached)
The navigation restriction in the channel at Mile Point causes shipping inefficiencies and hazards for vessel movement throughout the entire federal harbor. Prompt remediation is essential to Jacksonville Port Authority's ability to continue to create jobs and grow the economy of Northeast Florida. Upon completion, the Mile Point project will result in the addition of 3550 jobs.
Transportation and Infrastructure funding is a critical tool for job creation. Department of Transportation (DOT) statistics show that for every $1 billion invested in transportation- infrastructure