TAMPA, Fla.—Following President Barack Obama’s comments stressing the importance of deepening U.S. seaports in Charleston, Savannah and Jacksonville while appearing on the August 6, 2013 episode of NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” Tampa Port Authority CEO Paul Anderson had the following response:
“I applaud President Obama for his recent remarks highlighting the importance of infrastructure development at U.S. seaports, including the deepening of ports such as Charleston, Savannah and Jacksonville. America is a seafaring nation, and cargo is the currency of the world. Ninety-nine percent of our nation’s international cargo volume moves through its seaports. Unfortunately, we as a nation have failed to invest in these essential economic engines. Furthermore, the process for making navigational improvements to federal channels in our nation’s harbors through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers takes years—if not decades—to implement.
To ensure our nation’s future economic prosperity, reforms must be made that will enable America’s ports to implement critical projects in a much timelier manner. Fortunately, there is legislation moving through Congress that supports major deepening projects such as those mentioned by President Obama, and also streamlines and reforms federal dredging processes to enable our nation to compete more effectively in the fast-paced global economy.
The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) legislation, currently under consideration by Congress, addresses a host of issues, and one of the most important is improvements to our nation’s seaports. I urge the passage of a WRDA bill by Congress and signing of the bill by the President this year. I commend leaders in Congress who recognize the importance of our seaports and who are seeking to bolster our nation’s vast port system through timely passage of a WRDA bill.”
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