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Port Everglades received multi-million dollard federal grant for revitalization program

Port Everglades received $19 billion federal grant for revitalization program
Port Everglades received $19 million federal grant for revitalization program 01:45

FORT LAUDERDALE - Port Everglades has received a $19 million grant to fund needed infrastructure improvements.

The funds came from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and are part of the Port Infrastructure Development Program.

Port Everglades gets major federal grant for improvements 01:13

Officials said during a Wednesday morning news conference that the funding is a game changer for the South Florida port which is a big part of America's infrastructure.

"This is funding, in terms of the size of the grant that we have not seen in modern times for Port Everglades, let that sink in," said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz during the check presentation ceremony on Wednesday.

The Port's Berths Modernization Project takes into consideration not only cargo but also cruise operations. Ships are getting larger and longer which means they are getting deeper and the port wants to accommodate that. 

The project will replace bulkheads to allow berths to operate more efficiently and safely for the next 75 years.

The improvements will come to a number of berths that dock Royal Caribbean's Oasis and Quantum ships, which are currently the largest cruise ships in the world. Additionally, these berths also handle containerized and bulk cargo ships when the berths are available.

The port is working with the US Army Corp of Engineers on a schedule that could happen around 2030.

The grant money calls for 1,650 feet of old sea wall to be replaced at berths that house the mammoth cruise ships.

Those walls will be raised to combat climate change.

Broward Mayor Lamar Fisher said the work will help to keep the supply chain moving — and the local economy chugging along.

Port officials said it generates $30 billion a year in business activity that supports 7,103  local jobs and 206,255 statewide.

"About 90 percent of our cargo that comes through Port Everglades stays in South Florida," Fisher said. "That translates into more jobs and money for our residents and neighbors."

A large portion of the grant money goes toward widening and deepening the port for larger ships.

As it is now, getting those big ships in and out can get tricky.

"Our current channel is 42 feet and often times with the largest vessels coming in we need to ride the tides in and as well as out," said Port Everglades Director Johnathan Daniels. 

Port officials said the improvements are critical for growing business. 

"Our port is the third busiest cruise Homeport in the world," Daniel said. 

Only Port Miami and Port Canaveral are busier, officials said. 

Port Everglades is also one of the top ports for cargo and petroleum. 

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