HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Since it opened more than a hundred years ago, Port of Houston and the Ship Channel have only gotten bigger and busier. Leaders say it needs to grow again.
"That will increase the volume of the port dramatically. That will increase jobs. That's good for Texas," said Senator Ted Cruz.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz is the latest lawmaker to be lobbied to support a billion-dollar project that would widen and deepen the Houston Ship Channel to accommodate increased traffic and bigger ships.
The Port Authority says it can pay for the project primarily through usage fees and private company contributions and virtually no federal dollars.
"That gives me optimism that if Congress is functioning even at all, we ought to be able to go forward with this," said Cruz.
The trick is getting it approved by Congress which is supposed to vote on Water Resource and Development Act or WRDA projects every 2 years.
The port-authority says even a simmering trade war with China is not significantly slowing traffic in the port, proof it says that there's little time to wait for Washington to decide that work can begin.
"It really should be a bill that gets done next but, as Senator Cruz says, we're in a different kind of environment, today," said Ric Campo, Port of Houston Chairman.