Port improvements needed soon

Published 9:29 pm Thursday, September 4, 2014

To the editor:

The Port of Virginia has long been an economic powerhouse in our region. The port supports 343,000 Virginia jobs and generates $40 billion per year; however, the expansion of the Panama Canal is likely to bring a whole new wave of opportunity to area businesses.

Once the expansion is complete, post-Panamax vessels with 10 times the capacity of ordinary cargo ships will be able to pass through the canal and into the nation’s eastern ports. Currently, the Port of Virginia is the only port on the East Coast with the structure and the dock capacity to accommodate these vessels.

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Although our area holds a competitive edge in the port, we still have many improvements to make to our infrastructure. To ensure that our area is ready for the expansion, Congressman Randy Forbes has founded the Panama Canal Expansion Caucus.

This caucus will identify and report to Congress on needed improvements to our transportation networks and develop a new national freight plan that will take advantage of the post-expansion economic landscape.

With these preparations under way, we have much to gain from the canal expansion, and I commend Congressman Forbes for his forward-thinking approach to this development.

Paul Sobczak