NEW BEDFORD - The Baker-Polito Administration has reached an agreement with the City of New Bedford to fund the planning process for further dredging of the city's harbor.

The state is granting $1.6 million for design and permitting of the continued dredging.

The dredging will focus on the berths along the waterfront so they can accomodate much larger vessels. It's estimated that once the dredging is complete, it will create about 900 jobs and $260 million in new business revenue.

"It'll start off in areas that are fairly shallow, but where there is keen interest by businesses to invest," said Mayor Jon Mitchell. "And so, by prioritizing the work that way in the next few years, we'll be able to open up some good job opportunities for our residents."

Throughout his tenure, Mayor Mitchell has advocated for complete dredging of key sections of the harbor, saying it will unlock significant private sector investment and create hundreds of new jobs.

A dredging proposal from the New Bedford Port Authority estimates berth dredging of the harbor to cost $20 million. "We've been studying it for a long time. We've really put together a compelling case," said Mitchell. He adds the lion's share of that cost will be shouldered by the state, with funding also coming from the New Bedford Port Authority and private investment.