Dredging Mississippi River Trump Priority
The Port of South Louisiana has been given assurance that the dredging of the Mississippi River, a critical element to unencumbered movement of cargo and the success of Louisiana’s and the nation’s economy, will take place as part of President Trump’s 50 ‘Emergency and National Security Projects’.
The project, ranked seventh on the list, is catalogued at a cost of $1 billion and aims to create 200 direct jobs.
Paul Aucoin, Port of South Louisiana Executive Director, travelled to Washington, D.C. last month to meet key stakeholders, including Dan Slane, a key member of President Trump’s transition team, who is now serving in the White House as Deputy Director, Infrastructure at the National Trade Council.
Aucoin said: “I know it’s early on in the process, but I am encouraged that Trump’s administration will keep this project on the forefront and will urge Congress to approve it.”
While ports on the east coast have been adequately deepened to 50 feet to accommodate today’s deepdraft vessels, the lack of attention to the Mississippi River channel continues to negatively affect ports and the industries that lie upon the largest waterway in the nation.
The release of this list and the inclusion of its essential undertaking seems to echo President Trump’s promise to revitalize the nation’s failing transportation infrastructure.
The Port of South Louisiana, a 54-mile port district on the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, handles over a quarter billion short tons of cargo annually. This ranks it as the largest tonnage port district in the Western Hemisphere, the nation’s greatest grain exporter, and the number one energy transfer port in the United States.
Aucoin added: “I stressed…that ensuring the river is open for business will stimulate impressive economic growth and generate thousands of good paying jobs for working Americans.”
Trump’s 50 ‘Emergency and National Security Projects’ total $317.5 billion and are expected to create over 193,000 jobs.
Projects on the list had to be deemed a national security or public safety “emergency”, “shovel-ready”, with at least 30% of initial design and engineering work complete, a direct job creator and a project with the potential for increased U.S. manufacturing.
Although Congress authorized a 50-foot channel depth for the river in 1985, the project was never properly funded.
Aucoin concluded: “As a country, the Mississippi River is one of our most valuable resources and we must take steps to ensure its continued reliability.”
Trump was not favoured by ports in the U.S. recently as they became part of efforts to control the impact of the Trump administration executive order banning immigrants from the nations of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, causing nation-wide protests and disruption at borders.