Port of Miami looks for funds beyond federal budget

A ship loaded with shipping containers prepares to leave at the Port of Miami on December 10, 2010 in Miami, Fla.

TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: Well, the list of what did make it into President Obama's budget is a long one. But there's still plenty of stuff that didn't make it. One item involves the Panama Canal -- albeit indirectly. Engineers are making the canal bigger so that larger ships will be able to pass through. Well, to handle those ships, the Port of Miami was hoping the Federal government would pay to deepen Miami's shipping channel.

But as Marina Giovannelli reports from Miami, officials will have to look elsewhere for the money.


MARINA GIOVANNELLI: The Port of Miami wants to deepen its shipping channel by eight feet so it can accommodate ships known as "super-post-panamaxs."

JUAN KURYLA: These ships are larger, they bring more cargo, so basically almost twice as large as what we can accommodate right now.

Deputy Port Director Juan Kuryla says Miami is one of only three ports on the east coast that can accommodate the bigger ships. The port in New Jersey has a low-hanging bridge that would block the ships. The port in Norfolk, Va., needs to make way for Navy vessels. Kuryla says if the eastern seaboard wants to be a player in international shipping, Miami is where it's at.

So he couldn't believe it when his colleague came to tell him they didn't get the federal money to dig.

KURYLA: I asked him to go back and check again. And I'll tell you why: This project, we were not asking for a lot of money.

The port had asked the president for just $100,000 out of the $150 million it would cost to dredge. Kuryla's team is now looking to Congress and the Department of Transportation for the funds.

In Miami, I'm Marina Giovannelli for Marketplace.

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