Gulf of Mexico
The 1,100-foot supertanker Anne arrives at the Port of Corpus Christi on May 26, 2017. Jesse Samu/Port of Corpus Christi

OPINION: 93 years later, this is the role of the Port of Corpus Christi in our economy

In 1926, community leaders had the foresight to dig a channel from the Gulf of Mexico at Port Aransas all the way to the inner harbor in Corpus Christi. This channel first attracted businesses shipping cotton and grain from local farmers' fields and soon thereafter oil, which came from many of those same fields.

Refineries were built on the channel to process the oil into gasoline, diesel and later jet fuel. Over time, the communities attracted more new businesses like Reynolds Aluminum. They located along the north shore and what we now call “LaQuinta Channel” was formed by dredging. All these businesses created thousands of jobs and over the years the communities in this region grew and flourished.

Supporting and growing business is a part of our collective DNA in the region. Our elected leaders in Nueces and San Patricio counties support this growth through tax incentives and business-friendly policies to attract new industries. Thanks to their leadership, today is an exciting time for our region as we are experiencing an economic boom along the Port of Corpus Christi’s shores with billions of dollars of investments.

Cheniere, Exxon, and Moda Midstream — just to mention a few — are creating thousands of new jobs and opportunities. Larger than previous generations could have imagined, these new investments bring millions of dollars in revenue going directly to helping our communities improve infrastructure, pay for new schools, and foster an improved quality of life.

To continue down this path to success, local governments and leadership organizations each have an invaluable role in supporting economic progress. The Economic Development Corporations in Nueces and San Patricio counties work with new industries seeking development in this area and then the local government (county commissioners, school boards and city councils) approve projects and provide the tax incentives, enticing companies to invest in their respective districts.

Read full opinion . . .