In its recent review of the fiscal year 2009 capital program being implemented by the Tampa Port Authority, transportation and economic consultant firm Martin Associates made some strong statements about the Port of Tampa’s commercial importance and economic impact as the region’s largest engine for job creation.

This current fiscal year’s development projects, such as dredging, construction and major expansions of terminal facilities at Port Redwing and Hooker’s Point, represent nearly $83 million in capital expenditures and nearly 1,500 new construction-related jobs in the region. Resulting from these projects alone will be an estimated $62 million in personal income and $4.6 million in state and local taxes, the review noted.

The review reflects the complex nature of the Port of Tampa, saying that the port’s impact “cannot be reduced to a single number.” Literally hundreds of private businesses rely on commerce flowing into and out of the port, which boasts six major lines of business: bulk cargoes; break bulk cargoes; containers; ship building and repair; cruise operations; and industrial real estate. The sprawling and diverse Port of Tampa represents nearly $8 billion in total economic activity to the region and state and about one-half billion dollars generated in state and local tax revenues, according to a 2006 study commissioned by the port authority. Moreover, the port has a significant and active commitment to the environmental quality of Tampa Bay.

“The Port of Tampa is all about economic development, creating jobs and enabling our large and active customer base to grow and thrive,” Richard Wainio, port director and CEO, said. “The review of the port’s investments by Martin Associates has edified what we try to communicate everyday-that the Port of Tampa is without a doubt one of the strongest assets we have in west-central Florida. This port is unquestionably a bright spot in the state during this significant economic downturn.”