Connect with us

Economy

Shelby applauds the agreement on the Mobile Harbor Project

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby on Wednesday praised the announcement that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, and the Alabama State Port Authority have officially entered into a Project Partnership Agreement to deepen and widen the Mobile Harbor Ship Channel by late 2024 or early 2025.

The agreement was signed today by Colonel Sebastien P. Joly, Commander of the Mobile District, and John C. Driscoll, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Alabama State Port Authority.

“Today’s signing of the Mobile Harbor Project agreement is yet another milestone in the process of the deepening and widening the Port of Mobile,” said Senator Shelby. “The completion of this historic project will transform Alabama, expanding economic opportunities throughout our state and the region. Further, the modernization of Alabama’s primary port will increase the United States’ competitiveness in the global market. I am extremely grateful for the support of the Army Corps of Engineers and the work of the Alabama State Port Authority to ensure that this project, which I have spent years championing, crosses the finish line with ease.”

The Mobile District of the Corps anticipates the initial construction phase of the Mobile Harbor project will be awarded in the fall of 2020. The completed project will include deepening the existing Bar, Bay, and River Channels to a depth of 50 feet, incorporating minor bend easing at the double bends in the Bar Channel, widening the Bay Channel from 400 feet to 500 feet from the mouth of Mobile Bay northward for three nautical miles to provide a two-way traffic area for passing, and expanding the Choctaw Pass Turning Basin by 250 feet to the south at a depth of 50 feet. The widening and deepening of the channel will allow the Port of Mobile to accommodate the new larger container ships that are being built following the widening and deepening of the Panama Canal.

The Mobile Harbor project is expected to be done in six construction phases, with a targeted project completion by late 2024 or early 2025, and a total estimated cost of $365 million.

The Mobile Harbor Modernization project also received the State of Alabama’s funding commitment in March 2019 when Alabama Legislature passed and Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the Rebuild Alabama Act that allocated fuel tax dollars to support approximately $150 million in bonds to pay the state’s portion of the project. Motorists will see the price they pay for fuel increase by ten cents. The first phase increase went into effect last October, with the remainder in the next two years.

“Beyond the impact on the local and state levels, the Port of Mobile serves as a catalyst to our nation’s competitive position in the global economy. I have been proud to support The Mobile Harbor Modernization project, and I look forward to watching the growing benefits our Port will have in the years to come,” Gov. Ivey said. “The Port of Mobile is now poised to become a major hub for export activity, and this is yet another giant step forward in supporting our industries in the Americas and beyond. Alabama can be proud of the powerful economic tool that is our own Port of Mobile.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The Mobile Harbor deepening and widening project received its Record of Decision in September 2019, following an extensive four-year, environmental impact and economic feasibility study.

Just this past year, the Port Authority completed its $50 million, Phase 3 expansion that added 20 acres of container handling yard and extended the dock to allow simultaneous berth of two Post-Panamax sized ships. The project complements prior investments totaling $450 million in marine and rail container intermodal facilities.

“The Mobile Harbor project leverages shore-side port investments that provide shippers cost competitive transportation solutions in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive global economy,” said John Driscoll. “I’m deeply appreciative of the groundwork my predecessor, Jimmy Lyons, and the Authority’s team, delivered to realize this important project.”

In February, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allocated $274,300,000 for the Port of Mobile in its Fiscal Year 2020 Work Plan.

Public Service Announcement

The Port of Mobile is one of the nation’s fastest growing container seaports and has an economic impact of $25.4 billion. Supporters claim that the harbor channel construction project will allow for more goods to be shipped and sold through the Port of Mobile.

75 percent of the project will be paid for with federal funds and 25 percent from state-sponsored funds. Through federal legislation, Senator Shelby increased the federal government’s share of funding for deep draft ports from 50 percent to 75 percent.

 

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with over nine years at Alabama Political Reporter. During that time he has written 8,297 articles for APR. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

Advertisement

Economy

New unemployment claims increased again last week

It is the highest number of new claims recorded in a single week since July.

Micah Danney

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

There were 14,084 new unemployment claims filed last week, up from 10,986 new claims the previous week, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.

The number of new claims was the highest in a single week since July.

Of last week’s claims, 11,124 were related to COVID-19, representing 79 percent. Of the previous week’s claims, 80 percent were related to COVID-19.

Continue Reading

Economy

Officials offer thoughts on Huntsville Space Command decision

“We welcome Space Command to Huntsville with open arms and a good dose of southern hospitality,” the lieutenant governor said.

Charlie Walker

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

Several elected officials on Wednesday offered their appreciation toward the U.S. Space Command location decision that was made for Huntsville.

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth released the following statement regarding the announcement of Huntsville’s selection as the headquarters of U.S. Space Command:

“Alabama-made rockets first launched Americans into space and later carried them safely to the moon. Huntsville’s selection as the headquarters for the U.S. Space Command further solidifies Alabama as the national leader in aerospace research and development. We welcome Space Command to Huntsville with open arms and a good dose of southern hospitality.” 

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, in a statement, said:

“Today’s historic announcement that the Redstone Arsenal will be home to the permanent headquarters of the U.S. Space Force Command is fantastic news for Huntsville, the Tennessee Valley region, and the entire state of Alabama. I’m pleased that the site selection team recognized the obvious: Redstone and Space Command are a perfect fit. Alabama is already widely recognized for its important contributions to our national defense, and this decision further elevates our state as a leader in space and defense technology. I applaud the work of the Huntsville community, State leaders, the Congressional delegation, and especially my colleague Sen. Richard Shelby, for helping make this decision a reality. There will be a lot of work to do in the years ahead to turn today’s announcement into a reality on the ground, and I look forward to working closely with state and local leaders, Alabama’s Congressional delegation, and the Department of Defense to fully and efficiently implement this basing decision. It will be one of my top priorities.”

Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, released the following statement:

“With the Pentagon’s selection of the Redstone as the new home of the U.S. Space Command, Alabama is once again blessed with new jobs, new opportunities for our citizens, and new recognition for all that our state has to offer. Since Redstone Arsenal first opened its gates, Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley have been the centerpiece of our nation’s efforts in spaceflight, aerospace, and missile defense. Bringing the headquarters of U.S. Space Command to Alabama only brightens that spotlight and enhances our prestige on a global level. As the need to defend American assets in space becomes commonplace in the 21st century and beyond, Alabama will remain firmly on the front lines of nation’s exploration and defense of the final frontier.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The U.S. Space Command was established in 2019, and is said to be the leading force of the Department of Defense’s space operations.

Continue Reading

Congress

Delegation’s actions diminish Alabama’s economic development outlook, say insiders

Brooks faces censure. Tuberville is considered by most a pariah. Only Shelby and Sewell will hold influence on Capitol Hill.

Bill Britt

Published

on

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama., speaks Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, at a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the "Save America Rally." (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, last week, along with President Donald Trump, used incendiary language to incite a group of Trump’s supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol Building — an offense that has never been undertaken by American citizens.

Add to Brooks’s insurrectionary role in the pro-Trump mob the fact that Republicans lost control of the U.S. Senate a day earlier and the combination has Alabama business leaders privately voicing concern over the state’s ability to advance economic development and secure federal funding for projects in the state.

Seven members of the Alabama congressional delegation moved to overturn the presidential election of President-elect Joe Biden by voting to not certify the Electoral College vote, thereby disenfranchise millions of lawfully cast ballots based on little more than social media-fueled conspiracy theories.

Brooks, long considered a political grand-standing rube, was joined by Congressman Robert Aderholt, Gary Palmer, Barry Moore, Jerry Carl and Mike Rogers, who, with Sen. Tommy Tuberville, worked to throw the presidential election to Trump illegally.

Only Alabama’s Republican senior U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby and Democratic Congresswoman Terri Sewell followed the law.

While some Alabama voters and at least one media outlet heralded the seven as heroes, most found their actions to overturn an election reprehensible. These men are also being viewed by many in the business community as impediments to the state’s economic progress.

Businesses nationwide have begun disavowing those who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election and will withhold campaign contributions for those who took part in the spectacle.

ADVERTISEMENT

Alabama-based businesses are expected to follow suit with their own sanctions in the coming days.

The group of seven’s efforts to suborn insurrection seems to have awakened some business leaders to the fact that Alabama’s political extremism has finally reached a boiling point, much like Bloody Sunday, the Birmingham riots and numerous other heinous events in Alabama’s Civil Rights struggle.

Brooks finds himself facing censure in the House while the other Alabama House members are further diminished in the capacity to help their districts. And Tuberville, widely seen by Senate colleagues as unqualified for the job, is now considered by most a pariah.

Only Shelby and Sewell will continue to hold influence in the halls of power.

Public Service Announcement

APR is already hearing from Hill insiders that Alabama will pay a price for Brooks’s actions and the others’ revolt, which may very well cost billions in economic development and federal funds over the next two years.

As one insider put it: “Welcome to a new reality Alabama, enough is enough.”

Continue Reading

Economy

New unemployment claims spiked last week

Of those claims, 80 percent were related to COVID-19.

Micah Danney

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

There were 10,986 new unemployment claims filed online or by phone last week, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. 

Of those claims, 8,734 were related to COVID-19, representing 80 percent.

The number of new claims increased from 5,506 the previous week, of which 39 percent were COVID-19-related.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement