U.S. President Barack Obama recognized the importance of seaport-related infrastructure by announcing seven projects of national and regional significance which will benefit from aggressive federal permit decision-making and review schedules.
Each of these projects directly support America‚Äôs seaports and their ability to move freight efficiently to reduce costs to consumers, create jobs, and help America‚Äôs manufacturing and agricultural industries sell their goods overseas.
‚ÄúThe American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has long stressed the importance of expediting permitting and project delivery processes for water- and land-side access infrastructure projects at America‚Äôs seaports,‚ÄĚ said Kurt Nagle, AAPA‚Äôs president and CEO. ‚ÄúThese types of projects not only aid in the efficient movement of freight, they pay long-term dividends by supporting job creation and economic growth, and help to ensure America‚Äôs international competitiveness overseas. We hope that additional water- and land-side access projects at seaports will be added to the list.‚ÄĚ
The need to expedite infrastructure projects through permitting and environmental review processes was a recommendation of the President‚Äôs Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Fourteen projects, including highway, bridge, transit, water supply and other projects were initially identified by the administration last October. In a March, 2012 Executive Order, the president formally directed federal agencies to identify nationally or regionally significant infrastructure projects and set aggressive schedules for completing the necessary federal permit and review decisions associated with each project.
The projects announced yesterday¬† are the first seven of 43 additional projects that will be expedited under the Executive Order. The names of the other projects will be announced in the coming weeks.
The seven projects include five harbor improvements to deepen federal navigation channels for larger ships (in Jacksonville, Miami, Charleston, Savannah and New York/New Jersey), a project to increase the height of the New York harbor‚Äôs Bayonne Bridge to enhance navigation, and an intermodal container facility in Jacksonville to increase rail capacity.
Dredging Today Staff, July 20, 2012; Image: jaxport