Posted on March 7, 2017
By Junior Skepple, JBJ
The Jaxport Board approved the purchase of conservation land needed for its deepening project.
Jaxport is pushing for local, state and federal funding for the almost $700 million project.
The Jaxport Board voted unanimously to approve the purchase of two parcels of land totaling 53 acres. The cost of the land was about $457,000.
The port is purchasing more than 14.8 of the total 53 acres from JEA and the remaining 38.4 acres jointly owned by JEA and Florida Power & Light Co.
The board also approved $1.5 million in funding for preparation and monitoring work in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will manage the project to deepen 13 miles of the river. The work includes $608,000 for contract administration, design, procurement and construction, and $936,500 for environmental monitoring.
The port is sharing the costs with the Army Corps, which is overseeing the design and construction of the project.
The port authority included $46.6 million in its current operating budget to begin the dredging work. The money for dredging includes $31.6 million from the state and $15 million in port financing.
The deepening of the river would allow Jaxport to accommodate larger ships with more cargo. Both Savannah and Charleston, two major competitors for Jaxport, have begun dredging projects. Deepening the river in Jacksonville would keep Jaxport competitive with other southeast ports.