Governor looks for storm damage at port, questions elevation issue

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Governor Phil Bryant was on the ground at the State Port at Gulfport Monday for a first hand look at any damage that may have been caused by Hurricane Isaac. The governor said he was looking for specific things.

"Any damage that may have happened to the asphalt, to the new dirt we've brought in and where we've been pumping water out," Governor Bryant said. "I want to see if the storm and surge had any measurable affect."

Port officials didn't take any chance with the hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast. All containers, trailers and other loose assets were removed from port property to protect the port and the public. The governor said it was a good plan.

"It was staged inland 42 to 48 feet above sea level. We knew that the surge was not going to get there. We were able to move everything out of danger."

Port Director Donald Allee talked to Governor Bryant about the $600 million expansion plan at the port, specifically the idea of elevating the port to 25 feet. Bryant once again questioned the need and cost of elevation. After his visit, he continues to challenge that aspect of the port's expansion project.

"I keep asking, why are we going up 25 feet? Why spend $200 million to raise the port? We had a category 1 that just came through here and we had no damage to the port or the equipment," Bryant said.

The governor believes it's more important to concentrate on deepening the port than it is to elevate the facility.

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