The Calhoun Port Authority received notice today, Oct. 15, that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has signed off on the deficiency report for the Matagorda Ship Channel jetties.
Calhoun Port Director Charles Hausmann said the next step is to make sure funding language makes it into the current Water Resources Development Act.
“We’ll be working with the same four we’ve been working with to get the language into the bill,” he said.
Helping Port officials in the effort were U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud, U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, as well as U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, who represents the 14th District and is a member of the U.S. House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Hausmann said the current language calls for a 75/25 funding split between the federal government and the Port, but “we’re shooting for the government to fund it 100 percent since it’s a design deficiency,” he said.
The jetties were constructed in the 1960s through a partnership between the Army Corps of Engineers and the Port, according to a May 23, 2018, article. The Port contributed 50 percent to the construction.
In 1999, the Port, through a letter written by then Chairman Randy Boyd, gave notice to the Corps of the ongoing problems with the jetties and advised the Corps that the jetties have been severely undermining and scouring, stated the release.
According to the Martin & Associates’ 2015 economic analysis report of the Matagorda Ship Channel, failure of the jetties would cause losses to the local, state, and national economies estimated to be more than one billion dollars per month.
Chairman Boyd stated in the release, “We cannot let this happen.”
Following that notice, and after years of limited progress, the Corps finally recognized the severity of the problems with the jetties in 2016, some 17 years after being notified of the critical issue, noted the release.
The Corps initially informed the Port that, despite the Corps’ responsibility to fix the problems, the Port would have to pay for part of the fix, upwards of 50 percent of the cost. The repair estimate was initially $90-100 million, according to the release.
The Port later learned that it might only have to pay upwards of 25 percent or more than $22.5 million. The Port fought over the last few years to have the Corps pay the full amount of the repair, arguing local taxpayers should not be penalized for the problems where the Port had no control over the construction.