Jacksonville, Fl. - City and state leaders met downtown Tuesday to announce the beginning stages of the Jaxport harbor deepening project.
The design phase of the project is expected cost about $7 million and is set to be completed in September of 2015.
Jaxport spokesperson Nancy Rubin told WOKV that the $7 million has already been funded through the federal government and Jaxport.
"Of course the conversation has started now about the best way to fund the construction project."
The whole project is predicted to cost $684 million and will not be completed until 2019 or 2020.
The $7 million for the designing and engineering phase has been factored into the total price tag, according to Jaxport.
Jaxport CEO Brian Taylor said the work done towards the project up until Tuesday was to determine the operational, environmental and economic feasibility of the plan.
“Now they will actually do the design work,” Taylor said, referring to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “The design is being done by the Corps, and they will hire a dredging firm that does the actual work.”
The federal government will allocate about 45 percent of the total cost of the project, leaving about $371.4 million to come from other places.
A task force made up of city leaders is set to meet throughout the year to determine how much local money should be allocated towards the dredging.
“Most of the meetings we’ll have this year are really all about education and information for the task force members,” Taylor said. “We’ll begin in earnest in the new year, trying to determine the best way to fund that local portion.”
Jaxport officials predict deepening the harbor will create more than 13 thousand jobs both directly and indirectly.
“For generations to come, this project will make a positive difference for our city,” Mayor Alvin Brown said. “We want to sell to the world. To do that, we must build the very best infrastructure.”
President Obama signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act June 10 to encourage the modernization of America’s water infrastructures.