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In March, the Port St. Joe Port Authority entered the post-permit stage of developing the Port of Port St. Joe. The port received its final federal regulatory permit on February 28, for a project to dredge the federal navigation chan-nel and open a port for new service in northern Florida. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit approved plans for the containment area for dredged sediment, which is needed for deepening the navigation channel to its maximum authorized depth at 37 feet.

The project now needs funding to complete the final engineering and design for the infrastructure for sediment placement, namely berms. That price tag is 
estimated at $1.2 mil-lion. Next, the project needs to complete the Genesse Wyoming rail spur that connects the port planning area to points north and onto Chattahoochee.

The port authority has long sought to secure operational stability through the dredge work and port development, which would open a revenue stream through dock-age fees and tariffs. The largest part of the work is dredging some five million cubic yards of sediment, estimated to reach $60 million for the dredging and work on containment areas.

Last year, the state appropriated $20 mil-lion for dredging, and the project may receive more in the state’s final budget, released in May.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will oversee the project, under a contributed funds agreement with the port authority. The Corps has received congressional approval for the project and is ready to move forward, depending on future funding. The port said dredging could begin in May.

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