Key port study moves forward

Published: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 09:28 AM.

The ROI study would present the case for the Port Authority to the Florida Legislature in the effort to secure funding for dredging of the federally-authorized ship channel.

Jorge Gonzalez, senior vice president of the St. Joe Company, collaborators with the Port Authority on port development, said the company is focusing its lobbying efforts on that case.

The case begins with two Letters of Intent between St. Joe and two energy companies, one located in Northwest Florida, to ship wood pellets through the Port of Port St. Joe.

Those agreements hinge on dredging occurring by the end of 2014 or early in 2015.

Further, Costin recently announced a letter of interest from the Holland M. Ware Foundation to ship aggregate and sand through the port and over the Apalachicola Northern Railroad.

The state budget contains a $5 million appropriation for the AN rail line and the Ware Foundation letter expresses the interest provided dredging of the shipping channel is completed.

Gonzalez said the $5 million rail improvement appropriation is pending distribution as state officials look for a “path ahead to dredging” of the Port of Port St. Joe.

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