Next trip for Nutter: Panama Canal

Posted: November 17, 2013

PHILADELPHIA Mayor Nutter is not letting his passport collect any dust.

Less than a week after returning from a 10-day trade mission to England and Israel, Nutter will be joining Vice President Biden, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and mayors from Baltimore and Atlanta on a two-day trip to Houston and the Panama Canal.

Nutter received Biden's invitation by phone Wednesday, the day after his return from Israel. The mayor said he didn't hesitate.

"The city will be more than fine on Monday and Tuesday," Nutter said, adding that he would stay in constant contact with staff here. "I'm doing my job by going there."

Plus, the federal government is picking up his tab.

The entourage leaves Monday, stopping in Houston to look at its port before flying to Panama, where Biden is to meet with the country's president, Ricardo Martinelli. Then comes a tour of the Panama Canal expansion project, which is expected to double the waterway's capacity and allow significantly larger ships to call at U.S. ports.

Port traffic is on city officials' minds. The Delaware River is being dredged to deepen it to 45 feet so that more ships can dock here. When the work is done - 2015 is the projected date - 80 percent of the world's fleet will be able to come up the Delaware.


cvargas@phillynews.com

215-854-5520 @inqvargas

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