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Port makeover to bring 600 new jobs to San Diego

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SAN DIEGO - Hundreds of new jobs are coming to San Diego thanks to a $10 million project to upgrade the port .

“We have got our TIGER grant!” said Port of San Diego Chairman Dan Malcolm.

The announcement was made Friday at the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal. The project will be funed by a federal grant from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery fund.

“It’s a big day for the port of SD,” said Malcolm.

The money will go towards the optimization plan for the port, much of the work focused at the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal. The revitalization project will bring some 300-construction jobs and 290 permanent jobs after the terminal is complete.

“Those jobs here in the terminal those are great jobs,” said Malcolm. “The county averages $46,000 a year for a job, the average here for a job is $72,000.”

Malcolm said the terminal is a break/bulk terminal used mainly for large cargo items.

“We bring in big windmill blades. We bring in steel for shipyards. We bring in commodities,” said Malcolm. “It’s just been very difficult logistically with all of these old buildings.”

The plan is to demolish the old warehouses once used for cotton storage "so we’ll have a much more wide-open space,” said Malcolm.

Getting that space was not an easy task for the Port. The U.S. Maritime Administration said there were 627 applications received for the grant. In total, 39 projects in all modes of transportation were awarded. San Diego was one of five port projects.

Malcolm said it was actually San Diego’s fourth time applying for the grant.

“I joke all the time I’ve got a better chance of sending my child to Harvard,” said Malcolm.

He said all jokes aside; the benefit of the grant will be great to San Diego.

“The result of which is going to have a 500% increase in output. That means a huge economic impact on the region,” said Malcolm. “That translates, I don’t have the exact numbers, but it is a huge economic impact number in San Diego.”

“It’s going to make a really big difference,” said Rep. Susan Davis. “It does create jobs in the area, but it makes a huge difference to be able to move goods for the region and actually for our country.”