U.S. Congressman Ted Poe announced today that the city of Port Arthur would directly benefit from the Department of Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 1815) that passed last night in the House of Representatives. Language in the Defense Authorization Bill requires the U.S. Department of the Navy to transfer ownership of a surplus naval drydock to Port Arthur. The economic impact of this transfer could include the creation of almost 400 jobs, direct and indirect.

This is a great victory for the Port of Port Arthur, Rep. Poe said. This drydock will bolster economic development, improve quality of life, and generate jobs for the community of Port Arthur.

Built in 1942 for the U.S. Navy, the drydock is currently located in the Maritime Administration Beaumont Reserve Fleet where it has been since 1995. The Navy had the drydock considered excess in December of 2000 and the General Services Administration later declared the drydock surplus in February 2001.

After meeting with the local Port Arthur community and Chairman Duncan Hunter from the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Poe submitted the project to the Committee earlier this year for approval.

Additionally, in February, Congressman Poe cosponsored H.R. 292, which would increase from $12,000 to $100,000 the death gratuity payable to the survivors of members of the Armed Forces. This language was included in the Defense Authorization bill that passed last night.

H.R. 1815 passed the House by a 390-39 margin.