Wilmington port seeks $20M from state

By Amy Cherry 3:59pm, February 27, 2013 - Updated 5:51pm, February 27, 2013
The Port of Wilmington asks the bond bill committee for $20 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

The head of Diamond State Port Corporation says it needs the money for a new crane and dock repairs, but the Markell administration doesn't support the vunding.

They're hoping to privatize port operations through Texas-based Kinder Morgan.

Bond Bill Committee Co-chairman Quinn Johnson thinks the Port's request is a patch. He says the state needs to think about future needs given changes coming to the shipping industry.

"I think that it was necessary for the Port to be able to come in here today and tell us that in case the agreement is not reached that this is what we're going to need, in essence, is what I feel is a bandaid on the port, but we will have to have a significant and long discussion about future investments," says the Middletown Democrat.

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Senator Bob Venables thinks the Port's request has merit as well.

"If we don't go through with the deal with Kinder Morgan, than I think we're going to have to be looking for some money to put in the bond bill. I think the request for this year could be a heck of a lot more, but if they get half of it, they'll probably be tickled, that's probably, maybe what we can arrange, if we don't go through with the Kinder Morgan," says the Laurel Democrat.

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Officials say so far there's been no formal deal between the state and Kinder Morgan.

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