Galveston Port Weighs Funding Options for Projects

Allure of the Seas in Galveston

The Galveston Wharves Board is weighing its funding options for major projects lined up for the next few years, according to a press release.

“We’re considering issuing $100 million in bonds to help fund much-needed, time-sensitive projects, including expansion of the West Port Cargo Complex, improvements to the Pier 25 cruise terminal, and construction of a proposed fourth cruise terminal at Pier 16,” said Rodger Rees, port director and CEO.

Rees explained that the three projects are vital for growth and boosting port revenues as well as local jobs and the regional economy. He said that the port will seek approval from the Galveston Wharves Board of Trustees and the city for the issuance of the bonds.

“How loan proceeds are allocated will depend on whether the port is able to secure $44 million in American Rescue Plan Act money from the state of Texas. We’re hoping to get a favorable decision from the Texas Legislature this session to reimburse the port for some of the $58 million in revenues lost during the CDC-mandated, 15-month-long cruise suspension,” said Rees.

According to Rees, a third of the $100 million in proposed bonds would be used to fund the port’s improvements to the Cruise Terminal 25 to accommodate the Carnival Jubilee, set to arrive in December. Included is $10 million projected for improvements to facilities used by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Over $100 million would be used for the construction of a fourth cruise terminal at Pier 16 in partnership with MSC Cruises.

Another $12 million would be used to build a wall to enclose Slip 38 and to begin filling the slip at the cargo complex.

“None of us likes debt, but I think everyone understands that we have to go into debt to finance time-critical projects of this magnitude. We have healthy cash reserves and strong financial projections based on our cruise growth,” added Rees.

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