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GALVESTON, TX-Galveston voters have slammed on the brakes to a merger proposal with the Port of Houston. Reports show about 57% of voters opposed a regionalized port even though it was supported by many city officials and city council.

The plan called for Galveston Bay to host the regionalized port, but the Port of Houston Authority would be the manager. The Port of Galveston Authority would have become a business unit of the overseer. Under the proposal, Houston’s port authority pledged to infuse $30 million in the next 10 years into the aging Galveston operation.

The Galveston port encompasses 300 operating acres in city limits and 500 acres on Pelican Island, just outside of Galveston proper. Of the 500 Pelican Island acres, 50 acres are developed and plans are in the works to develop another 100 acres. The balance is being held in a land bank.

The end goal was to capture nearly all of the lucrative container shipping business in the Gulf of Mexico. GlobeSt.com previously was told Houston has a toehold on about 62% of the Gulf’s market share. The Houston port generates $7.7 billion in annual revenues. It is the leading port in foreign tonnage and second in total tonnage in the US. In 2000, Houston’s port handled 175 million tons in comparison to Galveston’s 6.89 million tons.

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