Dr. Quinton White, executive director of Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Institute, says in a Jan. 4 Florida Times-Union article that he is unconvinced that expanding Jacksonville’s port will have a positive economic impact.
“I’m not an economist, but I don’t see where all these jobs are,” White told said in the Times-Union article. “I don’t see where all the benefit is. I hope we’ll have a better understanding (from a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study) of what the positive impact will be on Jacksonville because it’s going to have a negative impact on the river.”
The Corps of Engineers is using computer models to anticipate the consequences of deepening the river’s 40-foot channel to as deep as 50 feet, making way for increases in international shipping. Environmentalists say the dredging’s impact on nearby creeks and marshes need to be determined before a decision is made on the project.
Later this month, the Corps is expected to reveal details of its study and issue a tentative ruling on the river’s optimal depth.