PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today announced the release of $15 million in state funding to continue the Delaware River Main Channel-Deepening project, saying its completion is critical to economic development and job-creation efforts.
"With ports up and down the East Coast deepening their navigation channels, Pennsylvania's international seaport in Philadelphia must keep pace to remain competitive in the growing international market," Governor Corbett told a large crowd gathered at the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority's Packer Avenue Marine Terminal.
The project will eventually deepen the Delaware River's entire 103-mile main shipping channel from 40 to 45 feet. This long-planned work will ensure the Port of Philadelphia can accommodate larger ships and compete with other ports, and particularly those serving New York/New Jersey and Baltimore, Maryland.
"A deeper river opens the way for world trade -- an economic 'high tide' of sorts. One estimate says the deepening of the river channel will create more than 8,000 to 12,000 direct jobs, and indirectly contribute to another 38,000," Corbett added, noting that spin-off jobs could be created across Pennsylvania.
The project began last year with the deepening of an 11-mile stretch of the channel bordering the State of Delaware. The entire project is expected to take about five years to complete.
The funding announced today will allow the lower portion of "Reach B," a section of the Delaware River shipping channel located off the coast of Delaware, to be deepened to 45 feet. As with work done thus far on the project, a private dredging company chosen through a public bid process will perform the deepening, under the guidance and supervision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Delaware River Main Channel-Deepening Project is a federal public works project, with 65 percent of the project's estimated $305 million total cost to be funded by the federal government and 35 percent of the project funded by a local match, in this case the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through its independent state agency, the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority.
With today's announcement of $15 million from the state's Capital Budget, the state's total investment to date for the project is $45 million.
"Of all the great work the Port of Philadelphia does to remain competitive, nothing is more important than continuing this project," said PRPA Chairman Charles Kopp. "While it is very important to build new warehouses, modernize our facilities, buy new cranes, and maintain our expert labor force, what good is all of that if the ships can't get up the river to reach us? Thanks to Governor Corbett and his administration, we're not going to have that problem."
"Reach C of the channel-deepening project was completed without incident," said PRPA Executive Director James T. McDermott Jr. "We must see this project forward through completion. Today's announcement by the governor will demonstrate to the worldwide carrier industry, and the rest of the world's maritime industry, that we mean to do exactly that: get this channel to where it needs to be."
The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) is an independent agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania charged with the management, maintenance, marketing and promotion of publicly owned port facilities along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, as well as strategic planning throughout the port district. PRPA works with its terminal operators to modernize, expand and improve its facilities, and to market those facilities to prospective port users. Port cargoes and the activities they generate are responsible for thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the Philadelphia area and throughout Pennsylvania. Find the PRPA online at www.philaport.com.
Media contact: Kevin Harley, 717-783-1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor