FDOT emphasizes SIS designation to Port Authority

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 02:23 PM.

Port Authority members heard last Wednesday from Florida Department of Transportation officials what they already knew.

Maintaining the Port of Port St. Joe’s designation as a port within the state’s Strategic Intermodal System (SIS) is vital to development of the port.

The collaboration with The St. Joe Company is a positive, bringing access to a deepwater bulkhead as well as the existing barge terminal bulkhead on the Intracoastal Waterway. The old Arizona Chemical site, with its natural gas wells and link to rail increases the port’s assets.

A FDOT grant of some $5 million that will aid in funding improvements to the Genessee Wyoming rail line to the port is a significant step forward.

But all of that would be undermined if the port’s designation as an “emerging” component of the SIS went away when the deadline arrives in the spring of next year.

“We don’t want to lose that (designation),” said Tommy Barfield, FDOT District 3 Secretary. “We don’t want to lose that traction.

“We’ve got to keep (the port) on the SIS. Without that you have no chance to compete for dollars.”

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