State Port Expansion Plan Gets Editorial Support….

With advance apologies to our tireless and noble affordable housing advocates, who else in their right minds wouldn’t get behind the Gov on this one. It is so over the top and visionary there is simply no way the new port master plan can be denied. Plus it isn’t a half bad booby prize for having several shipping containers on my land for months following Katrina along with rotting chicken and pork bellies.

Six weeks after the unveiling of what could become the most ambitious economic development project in the state’s history, the five members of the State Port Authority at Gulfport are poised to take action.

Don Allee, the executive director of the port, said the commissioners have called a special meeting for 8:30 a.m. Friday at the port authority’s offices in the Hancock Bank Building in downtown Gulfport. The only item on the agenda is the spectacular vision for the port’s future that was first shared with the public in early September.

The commissioners will be “in a position to act on it if they so desire,” Allee said.

“It” is a strategy to turn the Port of Gulfport into the largest container port in the United States, capable of handling more container cargo than the Port of Los Angeles. This billion-dollar concept would put an entirely new port south of the present-day location.

Lee Youngblood, a spokesman for the Mississippi Development Authority, said last month that “This would be the single largest economic-development project in the state’s history. It’s a statewide project with implications from the Coast going all the way up the state to the Tennessee line.”

Something so massive will take years, but then that gives both the Coast and the state time to prepare.

But first comes the approval of the port’s five commissioners, and we hope they each give it an enthusiastic endorsement.

And of course the Port Authority did just that this morning in a meeting that lasted less than a minute.