Reporting Maria Medina
WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – They have a deadline and they just can’t reach it. Now it’ll cost $10 million.
Those funds were supposed to deepen the delta’s deep water channel, but a hiccup sunk the port plan that’s dead in the water for now.
Deepening the channel means more cargo ships to the area. Now they may have to reach deep in their wallets if they ever want to get this done.
“We need a deeper channel,” West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon said.
West Sacramento city leaders thought they were close to getting the deep water channel even deeper to attract bigger and heavier cargo ships.
“There’s broad support for the project,” said Cabaldon.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood even paid a visit to the port last year, but the $158 million project to plunge into the water needs environmental approvals. The Army Corp of Engineers says it’s just not going to meet next December’s delta dredging deadline.
“Because of the fragile nature of the delta ecosystem, and all the issues surrounding delta and fish, they’re extra sensitive about the projects they’ll allow,” said Cabaldon.
The delay is putting $10 million in state bond money in serious jeopardy.
West Sacramento has to use the money or lose it. So they decided to build a bridge.
“There’s going to be a lot of excitement. This is a bridge we’ve wanted to build for a very long time,” said Cabaldon.
The bridge would be on South River Road, giving drivers another way to the freeway. But, while the city’s moving ahead on this priority project, the mayor says the port problem should be a big concern for everyone.
“We have to send rice ships out at less than full capacity,” said Cabaldon. “The future of our regional economy is going to depend on global competitiveness.”
The longer the project takes to get going, the more it’ll cost to get it done. Two years ago, it cost $80 million. Since then, it has ballooned to twice that amount.