Built on the twin lies of Sunshine and “Robust”: Boss Hoggs promises on the State Port at Gulfport nothing more than hot air

One of the larger post Katrina rebuilding stories here on the coast was then Governor Haley “Boss Hogg” Barbour and his economic development people diverting over $500 million dollars of recovery money meant to build housing for displaced storm victims to build “The Port of the Future” at the State Port in Gulfport. Wild promises of the port’s potential were made and I highlighted some of those promises in this post way back in 2008 where coastal residents were promised sunshine in the process due to the doubts many local area residents were harboring way back in 2008 when the money was diverted.

I mention all this because while I have been neck deep with my gabby cousin Slabb O’Leak, Anita Lee over at the Sun Herald blew the port’s BS out of the water this week because it turns out those plans Boss Hogg so publicly touted have been revealed to be BS and the locals are furious. This could well grow into a major scandal and it is my hope the OIG from HUD and possibly the Office of the Attorney General take a peeksie at how the recovery money was diverted, based promises that have since proven to be fictitious since the federal government may well have been misled.

That said I hope it is lost on no one the same political power brokers out of Jackson that brought us the port disaster have already annointed career politician and legacy political hack Billy Hewes as the next Mayor, almost a full year ahead of the election. Now for some links to various stories by the Sun Herald’s Anita Lee on the subject:

Leaders, community frustrated by port plans, progress

Gulfport councilman calls for change at port

MDOT commissioner talks connector road, tolls and curbing travel

The bottom line is the farther out from Katrina we travel, the more tarnished Haley Barbour’s legacy becomes as his empty promises continue to float to the surface.

sop

3 thoughts on “Built on the twin lies of Sunshine and “Robust”: Boss Hoggs promises on the State Port at Gulfport nothing more than hot air”

  1. Quite interesting.

    With the widening of the Panama Canal such a facility could be built BUT not without the rail and highways required. Such a project was scheduled for Brownsville but not without the Trans Texas Corridor being built. That project was defeated mostly via opposition being funded by California dock worker unions and BNSF railroad and lots of fake ranchers.

  2. I put these comments on the Sun Herald article, but would like to share them with slabbed:

    Gene Taylor was the only person trying to deepen the channel, with no cooperation or support from Barbour or port officials. They wanted to bury the issue rather than acknowledge that the port expansion without a deeper channel was folly. It costs money to deepen a channel just as it costs money to maintain the current channel which constantly silts in. It is not a natural channel or a natural harbor.

    Gene tried to get the channel authorized to 45 feet in Water Resources Development Act and to appropriate funds for a feasibility study in Energy and Water Appropriations. This is how the process works. The Corps has to do a study before it can do any project. The state would need to put up a share of the funding for the project and the maintenance and that is the main reason it did not happen. The state only did 100% federally-funded projects which only applied to the special Katrina recovery programs. That is why Barbour worked so hard to smuggle other projects into the Katrina programs.

    Gene offered lower-cost ways to get the job done, especially using the dredge material from the channel to restore Ship Island, with the Katrina funds that were already appropriated for the Mississippi Coastal Improvements Plan to restore the barrier islands. Instead they will be pumping sand from some other random site to restore Ship when they could have been doing two jobs at once.

    There is another part of the projections for the port project that most people have never figured out. Shipping is much cheaper than rail and rail is much cheaper than trucking, so you want to ship your freight as close to its final destination as possible. You are not looking for the first port and then a long train or truck ride. So when we questioned the projections of future containter freight to Gulfport and asked the MDA consultant from CH2M Hill why shippers would bring that many ships here, he suggested that the port could lease some of its facilities and water bottom to foreign shipping companies, such as Hutchison Whampoa or Dubai World Ports who would be looking for a hub in the Gulf Coast. So the big payoff in the whole deal was to lease it to a Chinese company.

  3. Brian you had called this one from the very beginning and I previously hoped you were wrong but it is what it is. As a landowner that has been impacted by the bad decision making at the port it is beyond disheartening to see the lies and duplicity.

    sop

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