BOSTON (CBS) – A $400 million dollar project to deepen Boston Harbor over the next three years will bring larger cargo and cruise ships to the region and create thousands of new jobs.

Securing the funds to get Boston maritime ready for the second half of the century was a team effort for the Washington congressional delegation, the state, the city and local unions.

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The recently signed federal Water Resources Reform and Development Act will provide $310 million of needed funds. The work will involve three contracts and be supervised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Massport held a reception on the Boston Fish Pier Monday to officially thank the Washington delegation for their cooperation and hard work.

On hand to be honored were Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, Congressmen Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch who spoke. Massport CEO Tom Glynn introduced the remarks before a standing room only crowd of over 200 people connected to the waterfront.

Representing the Commonwealth was Senate leader Therese Murray. The state will contribute $60 million to the project.

Waterfront activities provide a total of over 50,000 jobs in the region.

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“One third of all water cargo in and out of New England comes through Conley terminal in South Boston,” said Massport Port Director Deborah Hadden. Outside of the Exchange Center on the Fish Pier, where the event was held, was a new Subaru sedan which was one of 50,000 vehicles that are delivered through the auto port in Charlestown.

Congressman Mike Capuano may have made the most telling point when he said 50 years ago, nobody wanted to go down to the harbor and now everyone wants to be there, referring to the large amount of construction taking place in the Seaport District.

Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor

Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor

“We have to be careful to protect the good middle class family jobs on the waterfront,” added Capuano.

“We are constantly working to grow our container volumes at Conley Container Terminal,” said Massport CEO Tom Glynn.

This new dredging project will allow Boston to better compete with other East Coast Ports. This is especially important with the widening of the Panama Canal to allow wider cargo ships to pass through.

Boston Harbor will generate close to $3 billion in economic activity for New England next year.

All Things Travel Reports with Bob Weiss can be heard on WBZ News Radio

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