JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- With the approval of congress, thousands of new jobs will be headed to the River City.
Jacksonville has been missing out on opportunities because the area of the river called Mile Point is too shallow. Right now, large cargo ships have to wait until high tide to navigate through Mile Point.
The official agreement was signed Wednesday giving the green light to the first phase of Mile Point, the design portion.
The St. Johns River is more than a scenic backdrop. Its a main artery used for shipping and trading.
"All roads for future success in this port lead through Mile Point, figuratively and literally and we've got to correct the hazard to navigation there," said Col. Alfred Pantano, Jr. With the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
Cross currents prevent large cargo ships from passing through Mile Point during much of the day. The move Wednesday represents another step toward fixing the problem.
"Ships are getting bigger and all of our ports are going to have to have upgrades," said Jaxport CEO Paul Anderson.
If congress gives this project the stamp of approval, not only will our waterways open to economic opportunity, more than 3,500 new jobs will also flow in to the River City region.
"We have 38,000 people out of a job in this city and I can't think of no other project than to work to make it happen on this one," said Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown.
Jaxport's CEO says they have a powerful team backing this project up and fighting all the way at the top.
"I've traveled around the world looking at the other ports," said Congresswoman Corrine Brown. "They don't have what we have. We just need to put all our energies together."
Congress members say the problem is this project is an earmark and right now congress isn't voting on any earmarks. But Jacksonville's local reps say they will continue pushing to make this a priority.