New container terminal at Choctaw Point

Published 11:59 am Monday, October 23, 2006

By By Jo Bonner
Last week I, along with Senator Richard Shelby, Mobile Mayor Sam Jones, and Mobile County Commissioners Steve Nodine and Juan Chastang, attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the new container terminal at the Port of Mobile.
This new facility will open the Port of Mobile as the new gateway for containerized cargo to U.S. markets creating 300 permanent jobs, a number that is expected to increase to 470 jobs over the next ten years.
When the state docks were officially dedicated in 1928, former Alabama Governor Bibb Graves stated, "We are here opening Alabama's door to the world; not for our benefit alone, but for the benefit of all mankind."
These words still hold true today. Under the leadership of Governor Bob Riley, the vision of Governor Graves had for the port almost 90 years ago is even more of a reality today.
The new container terminal will be a huge boost for Alabama's industries-helping them compete and win in today's global economy. It will also help Alabama, as we continue in our efforts to recruit new industries to our state.
One of the driving forces in a decision to locate a new business is transportation infrastructure, and Mobile is uniquely situated to provide transportation access to major markets across the country with its two interstate systems, five railroads, and nearly 15,000 miles of inland waterway connections.
Not only will this new facility enable the Port of Mobile to handle the needs of Alabama but also the needs of regional manufacturers throughout the southeast.
The container terminal most definitely speaks to our future, and it is only further proof that dreams truly do come true in Alabama.
Currently, the Port of Mobile ranks 14th in the nation in terms of cargo tonnage and when the terminal is fully operational, Mobile, Alabama, is poised to join an impressive list of other U.S. ports such as Los Angeles, New York, Houston, and Charleston-as one of the top ports in the nation.
It is certainly an exciting time for Alabama's state docks-just this past June we welcomed the International Shipholding Corporation to Alabama-which will provide four-day rail service from Mobile to Mexico.
Yes, Governor Graves was right; Alabama's doors are indeed open-open to international commerce and open to a bright future.
National Dyslexia Awareness Month
In an effort to increase awareness and promote greater knowledge of dyslexia, October is National Dyslexia Awareness month. According to the National Institutes of Health, this learning disability affects between 10 and 20% of the population.
Dyslexia is a language-based disorder that is reflected in a difficulty in learning to read, write, and spell in spite of normal or above average intelligence. One of the saddest facts of dyslexia is that many who have this learning disability are never identified and therefore, not properly diagnosed.
The good news is that with proper instruction, people with dyslexia can become highly effective readers, writers, and spellers. Not being able to read, write, or spell is frustrating not only for the students but their parents as well, and early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.
Studies have shown that children who receive proper instruction in kindergarten and the first grade will have significantly fewer problems in learning to read at grade level than those who are not helped until second grade. In fact, 74% of children who are poor readers in third grade remain poor readers in the ninth grade.
Proper and early diagnosis is paramount to overcoming this learning disability. Those who are dyslexic can succeed in school and as adults with proper diagnosis, appropriate instruction, hard work and support from family, teachers, friends, and others, which is why spreading awareness about this learning disability is so important.
My staff and I work for you. If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721 or visit my website
Jo Bonner is a U.S. congressman. His column appears weekly.

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