Senate Earmarks Funding for ‘Strategic’ Ports Dredging

The Senate has approved legislation that would prioritize funding for deep-draft harbor and channel dredging for commercial ports like the Port of Gulfport that have been designated as “strategic” to national security, U.S. Senator Thad Cochran said.

The FY2017 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill (HR.2028), approved 90-8 on Thursday, provides $250 million for deep-draft harbor and channel dredging by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Senate bill urges the Corps of Engineers to prioritize dredging needs at commercial ports designated as “strategic” by the U.S. Department of Defense. The Port of Gulfport, which received a Strategic Seaport designation in November 2015, is one of 17 nationally.

“The Port of Gulfport is part of a network of strategic seaports that will require some work to meet the needs of the Department of Defense. This Senate bill appropriates funding to allow the Corps of Engineers to begin carrying out these dredging projects,” Cochran said.

“The excellent military facilities throughout South Mississippi make Gulfport’s designation ideal, and I look forward to it fulfilling this new seaport mission.”

The Port of Gulfport is undergoing a $570 million restoration and expansion, which includes acquisition of inland port capabilities.

The port is working with the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration to fulfill military seaport requirements and maintain commerce needs at the port.

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