Port receives extension of critical designation

Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 09:54 AM.

Providing an echo to words that have been offered during recent regular port meetings, Barfield acknowledges the time required to develop the port.

However, FDOT officials had taken a kinder eye to the Port of Port St. Joe and the SIS designation since the Port Authority and St. Joe entered into a formal agreement to develop the port.

“The Department recognizes that the redevelopment of this area (the port, rail and channel) will take additional time to become operational and meet the minimum criteria thresholds for seaport activity,” Barfield wrote to port director Tommy Pitts.

The importance of maintaining the SIS designation can not be overstated for the future of the port.

The FDOT earmarks 70-75 percent of discretionary funding each year for maintenance and infrastructure improvements – so-called discretionary funding – for members of the SIS. As SIS designees, ports and other transportation hubs are seen by the state as strategic to the flow of goods and people.

With the SIS funding for the shipping channel, Pitts added, the port could find luring state and federal dollars for dredging an easier hurdle to leap.

“This is excellent news,” Pitts said.

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