‘Protect Our Port’ campaign underway

Published: Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 09:16 AM.

Those interested in participating in the campaign can email the governor at rick.scott@eog.myflorida.com or call the governor’s office at 850-488-7146 to express support for the port land remaining in public hands.

Folks can also visit www.ProtectOurPort.com for additional information.

On another critical issue, port director Tommy Pitts announced during Wednesday’s meeting that a grant for the initial engineering and permitting for dredging the deepwater channel has been made available by the Florida Department of Transportation.

The grant is for $750,000 and carries a $250,000 match which the St. Joe Company, which is collaborating with the Port Authority on developing the port, has expressed in the past a willingness to provide.

“This is a big first step,” Pitts said. “This allows us to get started on the process of permitting.”

Pitts noted that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which undertakes dredging projects, had suggested the Port of Port St. Joe seek alternate sources of funding any maintenance dredging because the Corps indicated it could not accomplish the dredging in a timely fashion.

Pitts said with the $1 million, augmented by another $400,000 in a separate grant, will get the permitting for dredging underway which would effectively grease the wheels to luring customers. Those customers, in turn, would help underwrite, through portage fees, the dredging.

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