Posted on January 11, 2023
A federal omnibus bill signed by President Joe Biden on Dec. 29 allocated funding to the Army Corps of Engineers, according to Lisa Ashley, director of media relations at the Port of Houston. Now, the port will seek consideration for $80 million in funding from the Corps for the expansion and operation of the Houston Ship Channel.
The Port of Houston is in the process of expanding the Houston Ship Channel by 170 feet from 530 feet to 700 feet. This 11th major expansion of the channel is known as Project 11 and will allow for easier and safer two-way transit of vessels, according to Charlie Jenkins, the port’s senior director of strategic programs.
Jenkins said the $1 billion project is about 82% funded: $660 million through the port’s own cash flows and revenue bonds and $162.5 million from the federal government. He said if the port gets the remaining 18%, it would come in two parts: fiscal year 2023 funding that would come with the omnibus bill passed in December and the fiscal year 2024 president’s budget.
If the port receives the $80 million from the Corps, it could put Project 11 about $98 million away from being fully funded, depending on how much of the funds are used for the project. Ashley did not specify how the funding would be allocated if received.
Jenkins said the port’s expansion could add about $133 million of additional economic benefit to the $801.9 billion annual economic impact the port sustains on a national level. He said the project, which started construction in May, will be on track for completion by 2025 if the remaining funding is received in a timely manner.