MTYT: Is the port project in Southport really dead?

By Gary McNair - bio|email

Be careful awakening the sleeping giant.  That's what the folks with "No Port Southport" might be about to learn.  For months, that group opposed the building of an international port in the Southport area.  In July, after weeks of small communities and even Congressman Mike McIntyre backing off support for the project, the State Ports Authority pulled the plug – for now.

But is the project dead?  We just recently got news of the Ports Authority hiring a public relations firm out of Raleigh.  Capstrat will get about $375,000 in taxpayer money a year for three years to help the Ports Authority's image.  It's an advertising contract too.

The head of the Ports Authority says this money won't go to lobby for the ports, but instead will recruit business to all state ports.

But even the ports CEO admits they didn't get their message out as much as those who opposed the port project in Southport.  The temptation will be there to try to drum up some support, and we're going to have to keep a close eye on this one.

I can't help but notice a certain irony here.  People love to talk about wasteful government spending.  While the point of the public relations contract is to build a better image, the news of that more than $1 million contract might be causing the opposite effect.

That's my turn.  Now it's your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at

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