PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Port Authority officials said they’ll use an $11.25 million U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration Grant to build an additional cargo handling facility.

It will be located at the East Terminal, adjacent to the old Paper Mill property.

“This was the infrastructure, port infrastructure grant from fiscal year 23,” Florida House Representative Neal Dunn said. “We’ve been working on it since about January or February, $11.25 million to build on to the new east annex of the port. And that includes warehouse, rail, spur, and some obviously ramp work.”

The entire project will cost an estimated $27.5 million.

“We have very, very fortunate from the Florida Department of Transportation,” Port Authority Executive Director Alex King said. “They have committed the match of that funding. If we get the grant. So we have the match funding in place.” 

The Port Authority will make up the remaining funds with local matches.

“That would come from port revenues from operations fund,” King said. “Of course, we’ll be pursuing other grant funding opportunities to make that match.”

The new facility is expected to have a big economic impact both at the city and state level.

“You’re looking at over the 337 jobs as $30 million in personal income and local consumption and over $2.7 million and state and local state and local taxes that will be generated from that new cargo activity,” King said. “And adding to our $1.6 billion annual economic impacts for the Port Authority.”

Construction won’t begin for at least a year. 

“The US Department of Transportation to agree to terms,” King said. “And that could take a year to do the studies and agree to terms and then move into design, build, and construction.”

King said he hopes to break ground on the project by the beginning of 2025.