SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) --State politicians came together Friday to mark a milestone at the Port of Philadelphia that will bring in more cargo and more jobs.
Years of river dredging are nearing completion. The balance of the $300 million in federal funding needed to finish the project has been secured and that has politicians crowing.
"This is really a project about the future and about jobs," said Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.). "It's as simple as that."
Philadelphia's ship is coming in say the politicians, upon the completion of dredging over 100 miles of river from the mouth of the Delaware River to Tioga here in the city.
The new dredging will provide channel depth of 45 feet, putting Philadelphia in league with other major East Coast rivals.
"Were going to get deep in that river and get these boats up and down, and we'll give New York a hell of a tussle," said Rep. Bob Brady (D-Philadelphia).
Each year, 500,000 containers come into Philadelphia. Completion of the dredging will allow larger ships to come to the Port of Philadelphia, raising capacity to 2.5 to 3 million a year. Meaning the job force will likely double with wages averaging more than $30 per hour.
"We're going to create 10,000 good family-sustaining jobs right here in this port," said Rep. Bill Keller (D-184th District).
The experts say the dredging of the Delaware will be completed in 2018, coinciding with the dredging work on the Panama Canal. All of which is expected to have a dramatic impact on East Coast ports.