Port Everglades Construction New Start A Major Milestone
Federal, state and local elected officials joined local business leaders today (Feb.18) to welcome the news that Broward County’s long-awaited Port Everglades Navigation Improvements Project to deepen and widen the Port’s navigational channels can now begin with $29.1 million in funding under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers FY 2020 Work Plan.
The funding will be used to build a new facility for the U.S. Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale so the Intracoastal Waterway can be widened by 250 feet at a chokepoint where large Neo-Panamax cargo ships currently have operating restrictions that affect their ability to transit past docked cruise ships. The Coast Guard Station reconfiguration is the first phase of the larger dredging project.
“This is tremendous news for Broward County and all of South Florida,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “Beyond job creation, the deepening and widening project at Port Everglades will open it up to larger, more efficient cargo and cruise ships. It will also improve the ability of larger ships to navigate through the Port, ensuring that tourist and commercial vessels can enter and exit the Port more quickly and safely.”
The Port’s Navigation Improvements Project is anticipated to create an estimated 2,200 construction jobs and nearly 1,500 additional permanent direct jobs locally resulting from additional cargo capacity.
“Our community has been a great supporter of Port Everglades because businesspeople and residents recognize the economic benefits that the Port generates. As a community, we have been actively advocating to our elected officials in D.C. for this new start designation,” said Broward County Mayor Dale V.C. Holness, who was joined by Broward County Commissioners Lamar Fisher and Michael Udine. “What many people may not realize is that the Port is a self-funded enterprise that is supported by user fees as opposed to local property taxes. So, this project, while generating a terrific economic impact for the community, will not use any property tax dollars. However, it will need additional funding from the federal government to move forward.”
The Coast Guard station reconfiguration is estimated to be completed by November 2023 at a total cost of approximately $39 million, with $29.1 million paid with federal funds and the balance paid through port revenue and state grant funds. Lt. Derek Wallin talked about the benefits of building a new, modern facility on the existing Coast Guard property.
“This is a bi-partisan effort to make our navigation channels safer, globally competitive and environmental progressive. I applaud our Congressional Delegation for making this project a priority and recognizing the needs of our community,” said Glenn Wiltshire, Port Everglades Acting Chief Executive and Port Director. “Addressing this chokepoint is a critical step to widening the Intracoastal Waterway so cargo ships are able to transit to and from the southern part of the Port.”
The project has enjoyed bi-partisan federal support, including from Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rick Scott and current and former Congressional delegation members including Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Congressman Ted Deutsch, Congressman Alcee Hastings, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, Congresswoman Lois Frankel and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart. Statewide support has been led by Governor Ron DeSantis with the Florida Department of Transportation, Rep. Chip LaMarca and the Broward Legislative Delegation. City officials including the City of Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy, who addressed the historic role the Port has played in developing Hollywood, City of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, and the City of Dania Beach Mayor Lori Lewellen have also actively supported the project.
Business partners from the Port Everglades Action Team including representation from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, the Port Everglades Association, Broward Workshop, Greater Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood Chambers of Commerce and Port stakeholders have been instrumental in their outreach effort to Washington.