JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two years into a project deepening the 13-mile shipping channel from the mouth of the St. Johns River to Jacksonville Port Authority’s Blount Island Marine Terminal, the city of Jacksonville was asked to contribute $70 million to the project to allow the new class of massive cargo ships to access Jacksonville’s port.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump’s 2021 budget included an additional $93 million funding for the project the Army Corps of Engineers estimates will cost $774 million. That brings the federal government’s funding commitment to $195 million.
“This is a significant win for Jacksonville and as I have said before, the continued support from our state and federal partners demonstrates the strength of JaxPort’s future,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said at the time.
JaxPort is now asking the city to contribute $70 million over the next two budget years to the project, plus loan JaxPort an additional $46 million.
The state of Florida has, so far, contributed nearly $71.5 million toward the harbor deepening project.
Deepening the Jacksonville shipping channel to 47 feet will accommodate more cargo aboard the largest ships currently wanting to call on Jacksonville from counties in Asia, including Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and Thailand.
Work began in February 2018 for the first two phases of the project covering approximately 8 river miles of the St. Johns River. The value of those two contracts was approximately $230 million. A contract for the third phase is scheduled for advertisement in June, followed by an award in September 2020. Overall completion of the project is scheduled for 2023.
The St. Johns Riverkeeper has sued in an attempt to block the deepening over concerns that it will lead to increased flooding and river salinity. The Riverkeeper has been disputing a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flooding analysis.