FEAR THE MAGNOLIA, PEOPLE …
Pretty much every other coastal state has passed South Carolina’s port system in recent years … so why not Mississippi?
Seriously … it’s painfully obvious that the Palmetto state has no desire to leverage its most important competitive assets. Meanwhile our governor, Nikki Haley, is for sale to the highest bidder. So why shouldn’t Mississippi make a move?
That’s precisely what the Magnolia State is doing … although rumored revisions to its existing expansion aren’t being released to the public. According to The (Biloxi, MS) Sun Herald, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is reviewing a report that would chart a new vision for Mississippi’s port facilities – one which could enable the state to bypass the Port of Charleston, S.C.
Currently, Mississippi is planning to use $570 million in federal “community block grant” money (made available in the wake of Hurricane Katrina) to fund an expansion of its West Pier in Gulfport. Unfortunately for Mississippians, the state’s existing plan doesn’t address Gulfport Harbor’s shallowness (36 feet) and narrowness (300 feet) – two factors which severely limit the job creation potential of the project.
“Deep and wide” is the name of the game in the shipping business – which is why Bryant has proposed using a big chunk of those funds to pay for dredging Gulfport Harbor to a depth of 45 feet.
What else does Bryant have up his sleeve?
We won’t know until his office releases the report – if it releases the report. At this point, Bryant’s administration is only committing to release a “summary” of the document.
Eight years ago, the port of Charleston was the fourth-busiest port in America. Now it’s not even in the top ten. Also, South Carolina has refused to leverage the last deepwater port site on the Eastern Seaboard – located on the Jasper County side of the Savannah River.
Amazing, isn’t it? We never thought things would get so bad that a state like Mississippi would be in our rearview mirror … but there they are.