Another step back for dredging at Jacksonville’s ports, but the fight is not over.
Congresswoman Corrine Brown has pulled from committee an amendment that would have extended authorization under the ‘Water Bill’ to include dredging and other projects at Florida ports. The committee chair decided no amendment would be allowed, even though 11 in total were offered. Brown says she will put the amendment forward once again as the bill works toward the House floor.
“It is a great beginning, but there’s some tweaking that has to be done between now and when we pass this bill,” Brown says.
The House hasn’t passed a Water Bill in seven years, and once it does it will still have to go to conference to reconcile with what the Senate has already passed.
Brown says she will continue to advocate for dredging because of the deep economic impact it would have in Jacksonville.
“We’re not competitive. We need to be so the big ships can come in, leave their goods, turn around and move out,” Brown says.
She believes more than 90,000 jobs could be generated from dredging, and Jaxport says deepening the harbor is vital for attracting and keeping the business of the largest ships.
“This is make or break it for economic development,” Brown says.
When we asked what would happen if, in fact, a Water Bill does not include dredging, she refused to speculate- saying instead that failure is not an option, and the amendment will pass.