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Port Tampa Bay Makes Public-Private Commitment For $60M Expansion Project

The Port of Tampa

Port Tampa Bay approved a public-private partnership agreement with four other entities detailing who will pay for the widening and extension of the Big Bend Channel. 

The other partners in the agreement are the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Florida Department of Transportation, Tampa Electric Co. and Mosaic Co. The deal was finalized at the port's monthly board meeting Tuesday. 

The Big Bend Channel connects to the Tampa Harbor main channel, and the project will deepen it from 34 feet to 43 feet, as well as widen it from 200 feet to 250 feet, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The goal of the infrastructure work is to accommodate larger ships.

The Army Corps of Engineers estimates the expansion to cost more than $60M, but future bids may be higher or lower than that sum. Bids are not expected until March, with project funding from the partners due at that time.

The federal government promised $9M and plans to take over maintenance costs of about $1M. FDOT has pledged to pay 50% of the balance after the federal commitment, and the other entities would pay smaller shares.