Mayor Nutter headed to Panama

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Just back from a trip to England and Israel, Mayor Michael Nutter is going back on the road. 

Mayor Nutter says it started when his phone rang.

“So I got a call a couple of days ago from Vice President Joe Biden directly just called and said he’s going on behalf of the United States and President Obama to talk about the expansion of the Panama canal, business opportunities for the United States and various port cities.”

Nutter says he thinks he was invited because the Vice President is from Delaware and knows the river is being dredged to handle bigger ships.

“It’s tremendously important for our port and for jobs,” he said. “Philadelphia’s port is one of the few in the United States that has expansion capabilities. We have one of the most efficient ports anywhere in the United States of America, and we are competing with other ports in America and other ports around the world.”

Nutter says he hopes he can build ties on the trip that will mean jobs for Philadelphia.

Dredging the Delaware River has been controversial. Some environmentalists fought against it, saying it would stir up pollutants settled into the river bottom.  Others were upset about where the dredge spoils would be dumped.

After years of legal wrangling, including challenges by the states of New Jersey and Delaware, the project began in 2010 and is projected to be complete by 2017.

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