DALLAS - Despite a strong global economic ebb tide and hurricane damage, Gulf Coast ports are planning to use federal stimulus funds and continue issuing debt to build for what they hope will be a more promising future.

With a $5.25 billion expansion of the Panama Canal underway, U.S. ports near the Canal Zone expect to benefit from a rebound in shipping traffic once the recession gives way to economic recovery. More than $10 billion of construction projects were already on the books at U.S. ports before Congress passed the economic stimulus bill last month.

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