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JaxPort deepening project delayed due to shutdown?

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Updated: 10/18/2013 3:19 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The shutdown may be over but its effects could be felt in our area for years to come.

That includes the fight over dredging the St. Johns River.

"We were able to get people back to work, our small businesses have a little more stability," said Joe Kudashick, president of the Jacksonville Area Ship Repair Association.

The group represents about 45 local companies composed of 2,500 workers, many who were impacted by the government shutdown.

JaxPort officials say after the shutdown, they look forward to D.C. moving forward and focusing on projects like Mile Point and deepening the harbor.

"Keeping these improvement projects on track will provide the port the opportunity to generate more jobs and bring even greater economic returns to North Florida," said JaxPort spokeswoman Nancy Rubin.

An amendment sponsored by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, aims to speed up the process for deepening our waterways, but the shutdown put the brakes on everything.

"We've wasted a lot of time over 16 days," said Rep. Brown.

Bown told Action News that her colleagues in Congress will debate the Water Resource bill on Tuesday.

Her plan to cut congressional red tape for deepening JaxPort should have been decided earlier this month, while the U.S. government was on a two-week break.

"How important it is that Florida don't have to get at the back of the line when it comes to making sure that we get our port projects. That is what Congress should be doing it in the first place, working to put people to work."

Brown says without dredging to make way for bigger ships, Jacksonville could miss out on 90,000 new jobs.

"Having the deepwater dredging back on is good news for Blount Island and companies like North Florida Shipyards downtown," said Kudashick.

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aether - 10/18/2013 11:25 AM
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How much are the local companies offering to add to the federal monies?
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