With respect to the announcement by President Obama, Congresswoman Brown made the following statement:
"I am extremely pleased that President Barack Obama will be expediting the Permitting and Review process for deepening and expanding the Port of Jacksonville. This will allow JaxPort to prepare for larger Post Panamax ships, and keep it competitive with ports in the United States and throughout the world.
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. The action being taken by the Obama Administration mirror the actions requested in a recent letter I spearheaded that was sent to the Corps of Engineers by myself, Congressman Crenshaw, Congressman Stearns and Senator Nelson. I am also pleased that President Obama is creating a Navigational Task Force to develop a comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of our critical national port system.
President Obama's plan to expedite port projects across the U.S. will create jobs and economic development for both our U.S. Ports and the private companies that will be doing the work to improve our navigational and port infrastructure. It will also go a long way towards keeping the United States competitive worldwide."
According to the Obama administration:
Port of Jacksonville
One of the critical steps in modernizing and expanding the Port of Jacksonville is to finalize the federal feasibility study examining the costs and benefits of deepening the harbor. Nationally, feasibility studies take an average of 10 years and the expedited process announced today will shave 7 years off of that timeline, committing the federal government to finalize the study by April of 2013, years ahead of previous projections. Today, the Administration also announced that it will commit to completing all permits for the Jacksonville Port Intermodal Container Facility by July of 2013.
Coordinating Agency: US Army Corps of Engineers Target date for completing all Federal permit and review decisions: April 2013 The Army Corps is completing a feasibility study to examine the benefits and costs of deepening the Federal navigation channel at the port from its existing authorized project depth of 40 feet up to maximum project depth of 50 feet to accommodate larger cargo vessels and other ships. The Army Corps is applying its modernized planning process for potential long-term infrastructure investments to this ongoing study, and expects to complete its recommendations for improvements several years earlier than originally anticipated. The Port of Jacksonville plans to construct a new Intermodal Container Facility concurrently with the navigation improvements that will vastly improve the efficient movement of goods.
Jacksonville Intermodal Container Facility Coordinating Agency: US Department of Transportation Target date for completing all Federal permit and review decisions: July 2013 A new Intermodal Container Facility (ICTF) at the Port of Jacksonville will increase the capacity of the port to handle containers that arrive or depart by rail, and thereby will reduce truck traffic on local and regional roads. The ICTF will include a five-track rail yard, two wide-span electric cranes, and a paved area for stacking containers and several support uses, including a road a gate for truck movement of cargo, a parking area, and storm water retention facilities. The facility will also use zero-emission, wide-span electric cranes for all lift operations. This $45 million project is being financed through a public-private partnership, including US Department of Transportation TIGER grant funding of $10 million serving as an example of the expanded outreach and coordination by DOT to help non-traditional grantees navigate the environmental review process, from start to finish, in an efficient manner to meet the aggressive timelines associated with an innovative funding program. This port-side investment compliments the ongoing work by the Corps of Engineers helping maintain and increase the economic competitiveness of the port as expansion of the Panama Canal commences in the coming years.