Port group urges state to pay for development

April 18, 2007
Reported by Associated Press

Louisiana's ports need nearly 850 million dollars over the next five years to complete more than 100 capital improvement projects.  But they won't be able to begin those projects unless the state increases the amount of money it allocates to port development.

Joseph Accardo, the executive director of the Ports Association of Louisiana, says the association is planning to ask legislators to propose increasing the state's annual investment in port capital projects to 40 million dollars, double the amount set aside on average for port construction in the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development budget.  Accardo says the additional 20 million dollars could come from the state's 875 million dollar general fund surplus.

The ports association has identified more than 104 projects at 21 ports to complete over the next five years.  Accardo says the projects will cost 849 million dollars.

Among the ports included in the assessment is the Port of New Orleans, which needs 160  million to repair the France Road container terminal and relocate businesses on the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet whose operations have been stymied since Hurricane Katrina.  The New Orleans port also plans to spend six-and-a-half million dollars to build a cruise terminal at Poland Avenue, one-point-six million on security and five-and-a-half million dollars to replace a dredge.