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Long Beach port proposes record $644 million budget

Long Beach port proposes record $644 million budget

Long Beach's policy-setting Board of Harbor Commissioners Monday approved a $644 million budget for the Port of Long Beach, a proposed 36 percent spending increase from the previous year.

   If approved by the City Council, the 2007-2008 fiscal year budget would be a record for Long Beach, the Western Hemisphere's second-busiest container port. The proposed plan increases spending by $170 million over the previous fiscal year's $474 million budget.

   Major development elements of the new budget include:

   * $30 million for terminal development at three piers.

   * $56 million for port-wide security-related projects.

   * $70 million for development of bulk material handling facilities.

   * $37 million for a controversial port-area truck reregulation plan that has yet to be finalized or approved.

   The proposed budget also sets aside a record $15.4 million for transfer to the city in accordance with the state Tidelands Trust Act and the City Charter. The funds, which must be used by the city in the strictly defined tidelands area, represent the maximum allowable 10 percent of the port's profits from the previous year.

   The port expects overall revenue in the 2007-2008 fiscal year to increase 2 percent to $360 million from the year-ago period.

   Container fees, which make up the largest percentage of the port's operating revenue, are expected to increase 4 percent.

   The port is also proposing to draw $143 million from an existing contingency fund to pay for increased expenditures and to retire additional debt.

   Managed and maintained by the city's Harbor Department, the port is supported by terminal lease revenues, container fees, interest income, oil production revenue, wharfage and dockage fees, and a small amount of federal and state money.

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