Port of Houston Authority Chairman James T. Edmonds
has declined a suggestion by Galveston Bay Conservation and Preservation Association Chairman James Blackburn that
the Port adopt one of two alternative sites in place of the Port's proposed Bayport location for a new Houston area container terminal.
"Bayport is the right location for the Port's proposed container and cruise terminal, environmentally, financially and socially," Edmonds told Blackburn.
In a meeting on Thursday, Blackburn proposed that Spilman Island and Texas City would be better locations for the new container facility. Edmonds described both alternatives as impractical.
"There are a number of practical, and financial, reasons that Spilman Island cannot
be developed at this time, including the fact that it would be an imprudent use of taxpayer money," Edmonds explained. "It is a designated dredge disposal site for the next 50 years and would require tens of millions of dollars, and an unknown number of years, to bring it to a level where it could be developed. Right now, it is a bowl with a levee around it to capture the dredge material."
As for Texas City, Edmonds said, "While we do believe that with the continued development of container shipping there will be a demand for more container berths than the Bayport Terminal will provide, there is a simple reason why the Port cannot build its development at that site - it is in Galveston County and our Harris County general obligation bond funds passed by the voters in 1999 cannot be used in
"All of the ports in the U.S. Gulf face the same challenge - if we do not build added capacity, the ships will not come. We stand to lose jobs that will never return. This is not something to be taken lightly, particularly today," he concluded. "We continue to believe that recent site studies point to Bayport as the best location. We have a customer base that is ready to grow with this facility. And our commitment to the environment and neighbors is solid and unwavering."