Money from the BP oil spill settlement is headed to the Panhandle. The dollars will fund water and sewer lines for an industrial park, technical-education programs and an expansion of the Port of Panama City.
Nearly $19 million in spending will be dished out to the first four regional-economic development projects in Northwest Florida. Triumph Gulf Coast, an organization established by the Legislature to oversee settlement money from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, OK’d the plans last Friday.
The largest portion, some $10 million dollars, will go towards an ongoing project developing new terminals at the Port of Panama City. The project will support over 140 direct high-wage jobs at the port and add more than 250 additional port-dependent manufacturing and distribution jobs.
“I’m excited about this project," says Triumph Board Member Steven Connally. "I think it absolutely fits with our discussions around transformational economic projects and a diversification of our economy. So I’m very excited we’re at this point.”
Additionally, about $7 million will go towards existing workforce education programs in Wakulla and Escambia counties. And $1.5 million will go towards building water and sewer lines at an industrial park in Okaloosa County.
Triumph Gulf Coast is expected to handle three-quarters of the $2 billion dollars the state will get over the next 13 years from BP.