Triumph Gulf Coast’s board of directors voted last week to approve nearly $19 million in grants to promote economic diversification in four coastal Northwest Florida counties.
The grants are the first in what is expected to be $1.5 billion worth of job-creating initiatives funded over the next twelve years by an economic damages settlement between the State of Florida and BP as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The first grant approved by the Triumph board will provide $10 million to the Port of Panama City for a major expansion of port capacity.
The project develops new East Terminal facilities that will support over 140 direct high-wage jobs at the port and more than 250 additional port-dependent manufacturing and distribution jobs that could not locate in the region absent a working port.
The East Terminal expansion is planned to cost $59,864,000, break ground in July of 2018 and be complete by June 2019.
Triumph will pay for 17 percent of the project with remaining funds coming from the Port Authority, the Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Seaport Transportation Economic Development Council (FSTED).
The Triumph board last week also approved the formal terms of the grant subject to a binding contract expected to be signed within a month.
Triumph Gulf Coast is a seven-member, unpaid board established by the Florida Legislature to make awards that will promote and strengthen the economy of the eight Gulf Coast counties disproportionately affected by the spill.