FEMA approves $3.1 million for port project

By WLOX Staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLOX) - Mississippi's efforts to build the "port of the future" in Gulfport got a financial boost Monday from FEMA.

U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker announced that FEMA has given final approval for $3.1 million to support continued restoration of Mississippi State Port Authority facilities at the Port of Gulfport.

The money comes from FEMA's Public Assistance-Public Buildings grant program. The MSPA will apply the funding to its ongoing recovery work due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"The Port Authority operates one of the largest ports on the Gulf of Mexico. As a source of jobs and economic vitality for South Mississippi and the entire state, it is essential that port infrastructure be restored as soon as possible," said Cochran , who serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee that funds FEMA.

"These federal funds represent an important investment in our state's infrastructure," Wicker said.  "Restoring the port authority's facilities will strengthen the Port of Gulfport's ability to create more jobs and economic activity on the Gulf Coast."

This award will support ongoing restoration of port operations equipment, salvage value, insurance benefits, and costs for removal and disposal of damaged equipment.

According to the MSPA, its 204 acre port facility averages more than 2 million tons of cargo annually, shipping in excess of 200,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units). Restoration work on the port's West Pier began in early July.

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