Author Topic: If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT  (Read 13444 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT
« on: June 03, 2014, 03:00:01 AM »
If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT



Bruce A Fouraker, a contributing Writer and Editor with Masters of Industry Magazine and lifelong Jacksonville resident, presents an opposing response to the Sierra Club's opposition in dredging the St. Johns River.

Read More: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2014-jun-if-we-want-jax-to-thrive-then-we-must-support-jaxport

simms3

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Re: If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2014, 04:15:17 AM »
Fail.  Needs serious editing before becoming a prominent opinion piece.  TEU stands for Twenty Foot Equivalent, not "trailer" foot equivalent.  The name is now irrelevant to an average container's length, but the name still stands.

I really want to be on Bruce's side on this, but if I had to make a quick decision on whether or not to dredge and all I had to go off of was Jessica Fessenden's eloquently written May 13 piece about the Port to Nowhere, or this piece, the choice would be pretty clear in my mind: there is no reason to dredge.

I also can't imagine that salinity is measure in 'parts per thousand'.  That makes no sense.  As someone who grew up on the river, I can attest that when dredging has occurred in the past, the water I water-skied in tasted saltier and people caught more salt-water fish off of their docks.  The two events may be coincidental and not related.

Too many dollars and cents thrown around as purported fact here.

Let me quote a small section of this editorial here, and not to be too critical, but as someone who has even submitted editorials to the FTU in years past when I was "closer" to Jacksonville, I don't think I, even in my frequent haste, would want this sort of thing reprinted for the public (maybe if I typed this after coming home alone from the bar at night at 3 AM in a drunken rant, so long as it's 'Anonymous'...not to say I'm not describing past events in my life as they relate to my typing relationship with this site, hehe):

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While some Post Panamax Ships will have a 50 foot draft, the majority being built and designed will have a 45 draft.  Thus, the 47 foot channel designed to handle 45 feet drafts and leave 2 feet of water under the keel (bottom) of the ship.

• Regarding the time to project completion.  If the project is fast tracked it could be finished in four years and we could have fully loaded post Panamax Ships calling on JAXPORT.

Oh yea?  Says who?
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Starbuck

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Re: If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2014, 06:44:46 AM »
I'm sure that with ACOE involved it will create no more environmental damage than did straightening the Kissimmee River,  draining the Everglades, digging the Cross Florida Barge Canal, and be as effective as the New Orleans levee system.

tufsu1

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Re: If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2014, 08:48:40 AM »
I would love to know in what year FDOT funded JAXPORT at $98 million.  I believe Mr. Fouraker may be confusing JAXPORT with the entire state port system.

Rob68

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Re: If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2014, 09:03:24 AM »
The st johns river is fucked with this movement towards more depth..with a port so far inland..I dont see how we are more important than other cities actually on the coast...where is the real science?

IrvAdams

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Re: If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2014, 09:03:57 AM »
Deepening the channel sounds very logical and cost-effective to me, we have a great location and easily accessible port and associated land facilities. We need to regain our edge. I agree with the article.
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djaffee

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Re: If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2014, 11:40:23 AM »
This opinion piece deserves serious comment if for no other reason than I am referenced, my discipline of sociology is devalued, and my last name is misspelled (the author left off an ‘e’ – so I have been disenvoweled, once again).

In order to assess the value of this dredging/deepening project to the city and region one must extend beyond the narrow, abstract, and technical models used by most (not all) economists and venture into the real world. As an economic sociologist, I understand the value of incorporating the insights of other disciplines – including economics – but also politics, public administration, geography, transportation & logistics, and urban planning. If you confine yourself to economics as conventionally practiced, you would be unable to conduct a comprehensive and accurate analysis of the port logistics economy, or be able to evaluate the wisdom of this project. 

If one does the necessary multidisciplinary research based on real data, and actual experiences and conditions of other ports, projects, and the industry, and then asks whether the investment of what will be at least $1 billion dollars, with a local share of at least $400 million, will yield the claimed returns on investment, they will logically conclude that the likelihood is minimal at best.

In terms of the estimated costs and benefits, one must keep in mind that Martin Associates, as well as the peer review by a UNF economist of the Martin Associates model, was paid for by Jaxport. These are neither independent nor are they cost-benefit analyses. They are economic impact studies commissioned by an entity that uses the numbers to support its lobbying efforts at obtaining public taxpayer support.

As I have noted in many other places, these numbers should be interpreted with great caution and skepticism. The best and most comprehensive study of cost and benefit figures for megaprojects such as the St Johns River deepening conclude that cost/benefit estimates are not only highly and systematically misleading, but best explained by “intentional strategic misrepresentation”.  The research points to the following equation as the standard formula to garner public support and project approval:
(PROJECT/PUBLIC APPROVAL)= (underestimate costs) + (overestimate revenues) + (undervalue environmental impacts) + (overvalue economic development effects) 

There is no reason to assume that the St Johns dredging project will deviate from this pattern.  Like all such projects there are powerful interests that stand to gain from this massive public investment. To ignore this political dynamic, which would tend to be overlooked by a purely economic analysis, is to leave oneself open to being manipulated and duped.

Many questions have been raised about the number of jobs that will be presumably be generated by this project. One of the problems in assessing the claims is due to the fact that Martin Associates, whose numbers are used by proponents, does not reveal or share its model and/or data. However, I have already reported in other research how Martin job numbers have been inflated and misused by Jaxport (consult link below).  But don’t take the word of a sociologist, an independent (not paid for by Jaxport) peer review of the first draft of the USACE report on the project conducted by Battelle, that included job numbers generated by Martin Associates, concluded that: “The Regional Economic Development (RED) benefits are incorrectly attributed to the harbor deepening and therefore overemphasize regional benefits of the Jacksonville Harbor Project.”
 
What about the quality of jobs? This question has received far too little attention, so I am glad that the author of the editorial has raised this issue. Unfortunately, this too has been calculated in a way that grossly inflates the compensation in this sector of the local economy. Martin Associates once reported an average annual income of around $43,000. The author here has raised this further to $53,000. Both of these figures are laughable.

The first problem is reporting the average (mean) rather than the median for annual income. This is a violation of a basic statistical principle. The second problem is taking the total income for all workers of selected Jaxport tenants (the Martin approach) and then dividing by the total number of workers. This yields an average (rather than median) based on a limited number of port logistics sector workers.

The more widely acceptable way to determine compensation levels associated with the port economy is to access the Bureau of Labor Statistics/Occupational Employment Statistics for the economic sector that includes Transportation and Material Moving Occupations. Using these data from May 2013 indicates that the median annual income for workers in this sector in Duval County is $28,538. This translates into a median hourly wage of $13.78. According to the calculations for Duval County, a living wage for a working adult with one child is $19.71.   

If one focuses specifically on the jobs associated with the port logistics economy, 61% of the total is accounted for by three occupations -- Laborers and Freight, Stock Material Movers (34%); Heavy and Tractor Trailer Drivers (21%); Packers and Packagers (6.4%). The median annual income for these three positions is $28,395. This assumes fulltime year-round work which is increasingly unlikely for owner-operator truck drivers (who are paid by the container, not the hour) and warehouse/distribution center workers (who are increasingly hired through temporary employment agencies).

In short, as all studies have indicated, port logistics is not a high wage industry.

Even if the deepening project is approved, fully funded, and completed on schedule the probability of achieving the desired and projected outcomes is minimal. This is due to a number of factors:
•   John Martin, the President and CEO of Martin Associates, has said that after the deepening to 47’ feet Jaxport would then have to conduct an intensive marketing campaign in order to capture cargo from other ports
•   Port competition on the East Coast is intense and there are other ports that currently hold huge advantages over Jaxport that are already moving far more cargo -- such as Miami, Savannah, Charleston, Norfolk, and NY/NJ.  All of these ports are making their own investments in deeper channels and/or new infrastructure to sustain and improve their relative position in the East coast port hierarchy.
•   By all indications, there will not be enough cargo and shipping business to justify the number of East coast ports dredging deeper channels and harbors. Not every East coast port can be the “first in/last out” – and if everyone tries we will be, and are currently, engaging in environmentally destructive and financially costly competition. The net result will be massive overcapacity and underutilization.
•   One development indicating both the troubled state of the shipping industry and the uncompetitive position of Jaxport is the formation of container shipping alliances. The most significant is the P3 Alliance joining of Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Co, and CMA-CGM into a huge container shipping oligopoly. The P3 Alliance has disclosed its proposed shipping lanes and ports of call -- Jaxport is not among them. They have selected Miami, Savannah, Charleston, Baltimore, Norfolk, Newark, and Freeport.
•   Even at 47 feet, fully-loaded container vessel entry to Jaxport terminals for the largest post-Panamax and New Post-Panamax ships will not be possible due to the requirement for 50’ of water draft and 180-190’ of air draft. The Dames Point Bridge has an air draft of 175’.


For further information on the port economy check out the Ports Project at UNF at:
http://www.unf.edu/coas/cci/ports/

David Jaffee
Professor of Sociology
University of North Florida
 



simms3

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Re: If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2014, 12:05:45 PM »
Preach!
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jfess611

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Re: If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2014, 05:19:45 PM »
I stand by the opinions expressed in my original article, and would only add that the opinions here are filled with many "shoulds." Shoulds are irrational.  They only lead to a later discussion of how we didn't see something coming, except we do see it coming. Our writer states that dredging to 47 feet is necessary,  but the ships who will use jaxport at 47 feet can use jaxport now, we do not have the capability to reach the level necessary for a successful dredging project. An environmentalist at heart, I oppose JaxPort for economic reasons. I am an active member of Sierra Club, yes, and we oppose JaxPort,  but I am also a public school teacher as as such am someone who is constantly confronted with today's youth and thoughts of our future.  JaxPort is a bad idea for our future.  The jobs and salaries which are inflated here are jobs that require a massive upfront payment from the people of Jacksonville, and it is a bad investment on our part. Salinity issues, habitat destruction,  all of that aside-- JaxPort is a poor economic investment. 

Dr. Jaffee, I appreciate your comments.  Your experience and expertise is greatly appreciated throughout the community,  even if that is not evident in this opinion piece.

riverkeepered

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Re: If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2014, 09:00:32 PM »
I wish I had the time right now to refute all of the inaccuracies in this piece.  Unfortunately, the writer, our Chamber, and many local leaders have simply accepted the conclusions of the environmental and economic reports that have been completed by the Corps and Jaxport's consultant without question or scrutiny.  It is ironically the environmental groups and Dr. Jaffee who are the ones being fiscally conservative, demanding that the economic projections and viability of the project be thoroughly vetted, in addition to the environmental impacts.  Thankfully, Dr. Jaffee has been diligently studying the economics of the proposed dredging for several years and has exposed many of the fallacies and shortcomings of the analysis. 

We all want Jacksonville to thrive, but let's not risk the health of our river and hundreds of millions of dollars that we don't have chasing what may ultimately be a pipe dream.  Sometimes you have to face reality and focus on being the best that you can be and not what you want to be.  I guess our leaders aren't so concerned when they are rolling the dice with taxpayers' dollars, instead of their own.

Ocklawaha

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Re: If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2014, 10:57:30 PM »
Okay, I'll bite on this, you are a 'Professor of Sociology' and I a old railroad planner. Point-Counter Point.


•   John Martin, the President and CEO of Martin Associates, has said that after the deepening to 47’ feet Jaxport would then have to conduct an intensive marketing campaign in order to capture cargo from other ports


As does every other world port.

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•   Port competition on the East Coast is intense and there are other ports that currently hold huge advantages over Jaxport that are already moving far more cargo -- such as Miami, Savannah, Charleston, Norfolk, and NY/NJ.  All of these ports are making their own investments in deeper channels and/or new infrastructure to sustain and improve their relative position in the East coast port hierarchy.

We are number 13 in the USA and hold a on and off lead in automobiles. We 'own' the container business but dropped the ball with the Sealand fiasco. We are also positioned better then Miami, being 300+ miles closer to markets. The western most port in the USA. The first port coming north from the ditch that has access to the west via rail. Better railroad service and trackage then Miami, Savannah, Charleston or Norfolk. We DO have a product.

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•   By all indications, there will not be enough cargo and shipping business to jtify the number of East coast ports dredging deeper channels and harbors. Not every East coast port can be the “first in/last out” – and if everyone tries we will be, and are currently, engaging in environmentally destructive and financially costly competition. The net result will be massive overcapacity and underutilization.

Until business ticks up again and historically it will happen. This isn't a capacity issue per-se, though that plays a big role, this is a ship economy issue. As I've said again and again, the ships currently calling with a 8,000 container capacity are going to be blown away by 18,000 container Post-Panamax ships. Think one trip Hong Kong to Jaxport is equal to two of the older ships. Miami will sell a quicker return to Hong Kong (for example) 300 miles closer to the canal then the next major port, JAXPORT. This will buy the shipping companies one extra round trip per year or a bonus of 18,000 containers. We on the other hand can sell speed, speed west, northwest, and northward. We are not under New York on that globe, we are under Cincinnati, a certain advantage.

Quote
•   One development indicating both the troubled state of the shipping industry and the uncompetitive position of Jaxport is the formation of container shipping alliances. The most significant is the P3 Alliance joining of Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Co, and CMA-CGM into a huge container shipping oligopoly. The P3 Alliance has disclosed its proposed shipping lanes and ports of call -- Jaxport is not among them. They have selected Miami, Savannah, Charleston, Baltimore, Norfolk, Newark, and Freeport
.

Colliers International doesn't think we're out of this game. If they selected Savannah or Charleston they can unselect them, it's a matter of value added services and better rail. Around 1960 'another catastrophic environmental disaster' was planned for Jacksonville. It was called 'The Kansas City-Florida Parkway.' Today it's know as the embryonic Interstate-22, a multi-modal corridor bringing the American west to our door. With a bit of push, it could still happen and if it does, we'll blow Savannah's light out. MLK northwest could = I-22 along the NS to Valdosta and beyond. As an aside, the Savannah channel has more problems then we do and has also fallen behind, stumbled and fought over this thing, we're not alone.

Quote
•   Even at 47 feet, fully-loaded container vessel entry to Jaxport terminals for the largest post-Panamax and New Post-Panamax ships will not be possible due to the requirement for 50’ of water draft and 180-190’ of air draft. The Dames Point Bridge has an air draft of 175’.

Professor of Sociology
University of North Florida

Simple, you create terminals east of the bridge, including extending the JAXPORT railroad east along Hecksher Drive to a terminal as close to the shipping lanes as Port Canaveral or Fernandina. This also solves your largest complaint, and if held tight to the road would have minimal environment effect. I think it would be a net gain.

Ocklawaha

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Re: If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2014, 11:12:33 PM »
Fail.  Needs serious editing before becoming a prominent opinion piece.  TEU stands for Twenty Foot Equivalent, not "trailer" foot equivalent.  The name is now irrelevant to an average container's length, but the name still stands.

Yes and no Simms, the name is not irrelevant, of course there still are many 20' foot standard containers = TEU. However the TEU is more a measure of a space for a box 20' long, not so much the box itself, thus ship capacity is measured in TEU's. Larger Containers are not a standard size either, sometimes running 40' sometimes 45', there are other considerations such as 'high cube', refrigerated and other special containers, a business that will continue to grow as the shift continues.

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I also can't imagine that salinity is measure in 'parts per thousand'.  That makes no sense.  As someone who grew up on the river, I can attest that when dredging has occurred in the past, the water I water-skied in tasted saltier and people caught more salt-water fish off of their docks.  The two events may be coincidental and not related.

Ditto, but the river has little fall in it's 200 miles M/L, so tidal action brings in the saltwater anyway, then takes it back out.


Quote
I, even in my frequent haste, would want this sort of thing reprinted for the public (maybe if I typed this after coming home alone from the bar at night at 3 AM in a drunken rant, so long as it's 'Anonymous'...not to say I'm not describing past events in my life as they relate to my typing relationship with this site, hehe):

While some Post Panamax Ships will have a 50 foot draft, the majority being built and designed will have a 45 draft.  Thus, the 47 foot channel designed to handle 45 feet drafts and leave 2 feet of water under the keel (bottom) of the ship.

• Regarding the time to project completion.  If the project is fast tracked it could be finished in four years and we could have fully loaded post Panamax Ships calling on JAXPORT.

Oh yea?  Says who?

This feels like a cheap shot, or is it just my sensitivities??? ;)

simms3

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Re: If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2014, 11:43:07 PM »
Fail.  Needs serious editing before becoming a prominent opinion piece.  TEU stands for Twenty Foot Equivalent, not "trailer" foot equivalent.  The name is now irrelevant to an average container's length, but the name still stands.

Yes and no Simms, the name is not irrelevant, of course there still are many 20' foot standard containers = TEU. However the TEU is more a measure of a space for a box 20' long, not so much the box itself, thus ship capacity is measured in TEU's. Larger Containers are not a standard size either, sometimes running 40' sometimes 45', there are other considerations such as 'high cube', refrigerated and other special containers, a business that will continue to grow as the shift continues.

90% of TEUs are 40' long, exactly 2x the length of their namesake (so 90% of the containers being shipped would actually be 2 TEUs).  Other lengths are 45' and longer, some are 20'.  So then TEUs become a fraction.  I'd say the namesake is irrelevant at this point.

This feels like a cheap shot, or is it just my sensitivities??? ;)

Your sensitivities.  Horrible grammar, improper points, fallacies in the argument, and uneducated opinion played off as fact.  The setup for this article was that this was some well known guy who ran a magazine and sent this in to the FTU editorial board.  I think it's laughable, at best.  He needed a peer review X3 before submitting it up to both this heavily read website and the FTU.



BTW, I know who Dr. Jaffee is as I went to school with his kids.  Well respected name in the community.  His arguments are also reasonable and well argued.

The points FOR dredging are epic fails against their counterpoints.  This coming from a guy (me) who was all for expanding the port and capitalizing on that business.  It should not be difficult to win me over as I was already a proponent.  Now, I'm not.  The arguments against have been laid out in such a superior manner as to make them difficult to overcome.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2014, 11:45:04 PM by simms3 »
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brucef58

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Re: If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2014, 09:43:30 AM »
Dr. Jaffe,

The claim that 50 feet will automatically be the new draft is wrong and if it is correct we can easily go to 52 feet in the future on this 13 mile stretch of river.  There are many container ships that have a 45 foot draft and this business is available to Jacksonville.

Yes the Dames Point Bridge is 175 feet, regarding Tra-Pac, they choose that location knowing the bridge was there.  As stated in my article and shown in the accompanying photo the Blount Island location is to the east of the Dames Point Bridge.  The JEA lines can be raised to 264 feet or buried well under the riverbed to allow 200 feet of vertical clearance.  With a power line you must allow a 20 percent sag for overheating and an additional 20 feet for a 225KV energy field.  Thus, the 64 foot additional height to allow 200 feet of vertical clearance.  If this is done, Blount Island can handle the 180 to 190 feet of "air space".  If the lines are buried the vertical clearance becomes unlimited.

Blount Island currently has a great deal space (at least 50%) taken up by Ro/Ro mostly automobiles.  This type of cargo does not require a 47 channel.  Brian Taylor would like to eventually move this cargo to east of where it currently sits, possibly to somewhere along Talleyrand.

I certain that you are an excellent Sociology Professor and I believe the Sociology is an important academic subject.  My point was the Paul Mason (your colleague) is a well respected economist.  He is well respected in his field.  Dr. Mason knows the methodology in collecting the data needed to run economic models.  He understands the models used and certainly was fair and unbiased in his Peer Review. 

If you made a point in Sociology and Dr. Mason said you were wrong, I would consider you the expert.  In this case I trust Dr. Mason's work in his field.  In the case of an economics study Dr. Mason and Martin and Associates win the argument.

In response to Mr. Simms,  the technical term is trailer equivalent unit (TEU).  It is a twenty foot container size.  There are containers that are smaller than a TEU and containers that are much larger.  The last fiscal year JAXPORT handled over 930 thousand of these units.  The Martin and Associates Report which again was peer reviewed by well respected Economics Professor Paul Mason states that if the port is not deepened the number of TEUs handled will fall to about 732 thousand.

Regarding Salinity levels.  In most locations the oceans are considered to have a salinity level of 3.5%,  in scientific terms this would be measured in parts per thousand (PPT).  A level of 3.5% is equal to 35 PPT (this was taught at the Marine Science Center even way back in 1970).  According to the USACE Report the salinity level at the Acosta Bridge can range from just over 2 PPT to 11 PPT according to the amount fresh water flowing downstream (mainly created by rainfall) and the level of the tides.  Based on the fact that we are adding 1.1 billion cubic feet of water at higher salinity level and that the river, related marshes and tributaries before mile twenty contains well over ten billion cubic feet of water, the salinity level should not based on the math increase very much to the south of the Acosta Bridge.

To tufsu1:  Lake Ray stated emphatically in front of the Southside Business Men's club that his legislation provided  $98 million to JAXPORT IN FY 2013.  The entire FDOT budget for ports that year was $288 million.  Part of that was for the Mile Point fix and part of that was New Berlin Intermodal Facility.  The rest was for various other projects.

There was a comment about the septic tank and gasoline tank leakage.  The leaky septic tank issue is serious, according to Paul McElroy CEO of JEA it would cost an average of $18,000 per tank to hook up Jacksonville's 65,000 septic systems to our city sewage system, the cost is $1.17 billion.  If we turned to a gray water system for irrigation and agriculture this is estimated to be another $1.3 billion.  It is now time for the citizens of Jacksonville to decide whether or not was want to go to the next level of clean water.  If we do remember this will cost $2.5 billion; though the septic system would be paid through a surcharge on the property owners tax bill or some sort of monthly billing.

To the Riverkeeper: If you have a scientific report that contradicts the USACE report on salinity level increases, please forward it to me.  I will glad to read the report and if it provides a compelling reason to not dredge you may pull me over to your side?  If there is just a mind set of we do not what will happen, then your side needs to step back and evaluate what will happen using the data regarding the river and the impact of past dredging projects.

In doing so remember that the 40 foot deepening was Talleyrand and the 47 foot project will only be to just west of New Berlin. 

The dredging has been a part of the local plans since Neil was Riverkeeper.  Why did you not do your own EA to determine if the project

tufsu1

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Re: If We Want Jax to Thrive Then We Must Support JAXPORT
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2014, 10:01:39 AM »
To tufsu1:  Lake Ray stated emphatically in front of the Southside Business Men's club that his legislation provided  $98 million to JAXPORT IN FY 2013.  The entire FDOT budget for ports that year was $288 million.  Part of that was for the Mile Point fix and part of that was New Berlin Intermodal Facility.  The rest was for various other projects.

The Mile Point fix is around $36 million and the state is funding $30 million for the intermodal facility.  Where is the other $32 million?  Plus, these appropriations were spread out over more than one FDOT fiscal year (evidenced by the fact the intermodal facility didn't even start construction until 2014 and Mile Point hasn't started yet).