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By Margaret Toal
For the Record 

Phelan, Nichols announce money for port


Last updated 12/19/2023 at 8:07pm

Courtesy of Dade Phelan's office

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, who represents Orange County, speaks during the announcement Monday of the Port of Orange getting $18.1 million through new funding by the state legislature. State Senator Robert Nichols is seated on the right.

The Port of Orange is getting $18.1 million from the state and will be able to do new projects to help local industry, thanks to a first-time allocation from the Texas Legislature.

Texas Speaker of the House, Dade Phelan, who represents Orange County and part of Jefferson County, and Texas Senator Robert Nichols, whose district includes Orange and Jefferson counties, were at the Port of Orange on Monday to announce the allocation.

The four ports in Southeast Texas are receiving a total of $66 million in the new state money for different projects.

The local port, whose offices are in the historic former Lutcher and Moore Lumber Company on the Sabine River, hosted the state officials, along with representatives from the ports of Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Sabine Pass for the special announcement.

Phelan, the House District 21 representative, said this is the first time the state legislature has invested so much in the ports in the state.

The new emphasis on ports has been helped by Phelan, who grew up in this area and worked his way to the powerful speaker of the house position, and Nichols, who is chair of the State Senate Transportation Committee. Nichols lives in Jacksonville, but has a chemical engineering degree from Lamar University in Beaumont and a petrochemical professional background that made him familiar with the importance of ports along the Texas coast.

The Port of Orange owns several acres of land along the Sabine River off DuPont Drive, plus acreage of the former U.S. Navy base along the river off Simmons Drive.

Port Director Lorrie Taylor said the new state money will be used to repair a dock, pluse develop a 10-acre site trucking site to help accommodate the large trucks that haul off goods delivered to the port.

The state allocations will be used along with grants from the Port Connectivity Program and the Maritime Infrastructure Program.

The Orange Navigation and Port District was formed in 1960 and is a countywide taxing entity with elected board commissioners to oversee the port. John Montagne is the current board president with other members Debbie Britnell, Keith Wallace, Walter Mullins III, and Marvin Spears.


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