The nonprofit Port Campaign Coalition is tracking the project and how its money is being spent. It wants the PEER report to be released.
Coalition member Glenn Cobb says he’s concerned the project has fallen behind pace in terms of creating 1,200 full-time, permanent jobs and that restoring housing along the Mississippi Gulf Coast has lagged as the restoration moves forward. He’s also concerned there might not be time for the port channel to be deepened to allow greater ship traffic that could result when the Panama Canal is widened.
“You’ve got to get to (36) feet, at least, to get those major cruise ships, the big boats, to come to the port,” Cobb said. The current authorized depth of the channel is 36 feet, although the deepest the channel currently reaches is 32 feet, says Port of Gulfport spokesman Denton Gibbes. The port is seeking funding to deepen the channel to perhaps 40-42 feet.