Cruise ships at Port EvergladesCruise ships at Port Everglades

The Port Everglades Navigation Improvements Project has received federal authorization for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move forward with deepening and widening the port's navigation channels as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act signed into law December 16, 2016, by President Barack Obama, according to a statement from the port.

The project is currently in the preconstruction engineering and design phase, and can now proceed through the permitting and federal funding processes.

The project is anticipated to create an estimated 2,200 construction jobs and nearly 1,500 permanent direct jobs locally resulting from additional cargo capacity.

The Broward County Congressional Delegation joined local leaders today at Port Everglades to commend progress on the seaport's project.

"My fellow commissioners and I want to thank our Congressional Delegation for their support in passing legislation that will allow two long-term Broward County water resource projects to move forward - the Port Everglades Navigation Improvements Project and the Central Everglades Planning Project," said Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief. "Both projects are vital for our community's well-being and economic stability."

"This is a bi-partisan effort to make our navigation channels safer, globally competitive and environmentally progressive," said Port Everglades Chief Executive and Port Director Steven Cernak. "I applaud our Congressional Delegation for making this project a priority and recognizing the needs of our community."

"The WIIN Act is a victory for South Florida's economy, giving the green light to federal funding for the Port Everglades expansion," said Congresswoman Lois Frankel. "This project means thousands of new good paying jobs for Floridians. It's a shining example of what we can accomplish when we work in a bipartisan manner across the public and private sectors, and local and state levels."

"I am proud to have joined my colleagues in the South Florida delegation to support this vital legislation. The WIIN Act provides much-needed funding to deepen the Port, restore the Everglades' invaluable ecosystem, and ensure a safe source of clean, fresh water for our constituents," said Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. "It really is a huge win-win, pun intended, because the legislation also will create jobs for thousands of hard-working South Floridians."

"After nearly 20 years of hard work, determination, and cooperation between our federal, state and local partners, I am pleased to see the Port Everglades expansion and deepening project moving forward," Congressman Alcee Hastings said. "This project will allow the Port, a vital economic driver in South Florida - seeing over three and a half million cruise ship passengers last year and nearly $30 billion in trade operations in 2016 - modernized to handle the challenges of the 21st Century. As the point of entry for the petroleum and jet fuel supply for South Florida, this project could not come at a more crucial time to support the new, larger post Panamax ships now traversing the recently widened Panama Canal. The ability to accommodate larger cruise and cargo ships means the Port will remain a dynamic economic engine in our region."