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Chamber supports ‘inherently sound’ decision to fund harbor dredging

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr.

Posted on July 20, 2022

Dear Editor,

The St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce commends Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. and the entire board of the Public Finance Authority for unanimously approving the appropriation of $17 million in bond proceeds for the dredging of the Charlotte Amalie harbor channel and turning basin.

This vital infrastructure project will allow Oasis-sized cruise ships safe passage to the West Indian Company dock. Oasis-class vessels currently cannot enter the harbor and must bypass our premier berthing port for other regional destinations.

Gov. Bryan’s strategy to use a local funding source for dredging while concurrently seeking reimbursement from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is inherently sound.

The Chamber fully supports this approach and urges HUD to authorize this economic infrastructure revitalization project for reimbursement. This vital project has the power to improve the quality of life for so many Virgin Islanders and their families whose livelihood is directly tied to cruise ship calls and the growth of the cruise industry in the territory.

In funding the dredging, the Bryan administration has invested in the continued success of our cruise industry. It will lead to increased ship calls to the territory. Cruise ship passenger spending generates millions in gross receipts tax collection and passenger head tax for the V.I. government general fund and supports both government and private sector jobs.

Commencing and completing dredging is foundational to our tourism driven economy. The Chamber of Commerce supports the Bryan administration in its commitment to the Port of Charlotte Amalie’s economic revitalization, and to giving WICO the commercial flexibility to berth Oasis-sized ships of the future.

— Shaine Gaspard, St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce president.



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