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HOUSTON-The Port of Houston Authority secures an AA+ rating from Fitch Inc. for the deepening and widening of the Houston Ship Channel. A Port source tells GlobeSt.com the improvement project has been ongoing. The Port is responsible for $130 million of the costs and the feds, $530 million.

The authority will hold the bond sale Oct. 22. A $17.3-million bond series will be used to pay a portion of the channel construction. A $70-million bond series will fund engineering studies for the initial phase of a new container terminal. It’s a $1.2-billion undertaking that will require public hearings once engineering studies are done, says the contact. The project’s full scope will take 10 to 15 years for build-out.

“The AA+ rating from Fitch demonstrates our financial strength as the premier port in the Gulf of Mexico,” says James T. Edmonds, port authority chairman. “With our efficient performance record, profitable operations and strong balance sheet, the Port of Houston Authority is in a strong position to grow as a global trade expands in the Gulf Coast and Southwestern US region in the coming years.

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