State’s Congressional leadership pushed for inclusion in 2010 budget

Virginia’s congressional delegation has helped secure $28.5 million in the President’s proposed 2010 budget for construction of the fourth state-owned marine terminal at Craney Island.

“We are grateful to the White House for its consideration of this important project and an equal amount of gratitude goes to Sen. Mark Warner for his leadership on the development of Craney Island,” said Jerry A. Bridges, the Virginia Port Authority’s executive director. “The senator clearly understands the economic benefits of developing the Craney Island Marine Terminal and it is a position he has been firm on since his time as Virginia’s governor. This is a very important step forward.”

Support for the project’s inclusion in the President’s budget also came from Sen. Jim Webb and from Reps. Bobby Scott, Glenn Nye, Randy Forbes and Robert Wittman.

“Are all supporters of this port and the Craney Island project and deserve our thanks as well,” Bridges said.

The VPA was made aware of the project’s inclusion in the budget in late May; Jeff Keever, the VPA’s deputy executive director, said it is too early to say specifically where the money would be spent.

“It will be used for construction, we plan to push forward on construction and this is a good start,” Keever said. “The engineering work is ongoing and as soon as that ready, we will go to work.”

A study conducted in 2005 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the long-term benefit of building Craney Island Marine Terminal would be savings of $6 billion that would not have to be invested by the federal government large transportation infrastructure projects. The study says the project would generate 54,000 jobs with wages of $1.7 billion and local tax revenues of $155 million.

“This project is key to the growth of The Port of Virginia and the Commonwealth’s economy,” Sen. Warner said. “If we can get it done, it would generate 7,700 direct and indirect jobs immediately from construction. Once the project is fully constructed it will sustain 54,000 direct and indirect jobs at capacity.

“That’s why I was determined to push the White House to include these initial funds in the President’s budget. We see this funding as a down payment and will continue to push for the rest of the federal share so that we can get this done with our local, regional and state partners.”

Construction of the Craney Island Marine Terminal is a $2.2 billion multiphase project that will result in the newest, most modern marine terminal in the United States: a 600-acre complex encompassing 8,400 linear feet of berth space, 20 Suez-class cranes and an on-terminal intermodal container transfer facility [ICTF]. The marine terminal will be built in three phases over the next 20-25 years and upon completion have capacity for at least 2.5 million TEUs.

Work on the first phase is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2011 and finish in 2019 or 2020. This phase includes 220 acres of container yard, 3,000 linear feet of berth space, eight cranes and the ICTF.