Governor's Office Unloads Comments Supporting Port Improvements
The governor’s office released a long list of support for the Gov. Rick Scott’s fiscal support to build up Florida’s ports, highlighted by $13 million for Port Everglades on Thursday and $36 million for JaxPort on Monday.
Under the title, “What They Are Saying,” here is what proponents -- including the Florida Ports Council, Florida Trucking Association, Floridians for Better Transportation, Florida Chamber Foundation, Florida Retail Federation, Associated Industries of Florida and Florida Airport Council -- are saying:
Florida Ports Council
“In order for Florida to truly become a global hub for trade, the state must continue to invest in freight infrastructure. Thankfully, Governor Scott has recognized this need and been a tireless champion for making the necessary strategic investments to accomplish that goal.” -- Doug Wheeler, president of the Florida Ports Council.
“The entire state of Florida should be proud and excited about the efforts of Governor Scott in focusing on the seaports of Florida in his strategic planning for the future. Not only has he supported our ports in his words, but he has backed up his support financially. In the global economy in which we must compete and the pressures of competing with neighboring states, Governor Scott has stepped to the plate and helped our ports become leaders in the international trade supply chain. The strength of our ports will only help Florida secure a place in the international market for centuries to come and the ability to grow our ports will secure the future for all of our citizens. We thank Governor Scott for his insight and leadership.” -- Roy Schleicher, interim port director of JAXPORT.
“An ICTF on Port Everglades property will not only ensure our seaport remains competitive with other U.S. East Coast gateways, but will give our port a cost and time-to-market advantage over many of these gateways, thereby putting more and more South Florida residents to work as a result of the additional business opportunities it will generate. This unique public–private partnership is consistent with Governor Scott’s efforts to expand support to Florida’s ports, leveraging private-sector capital to complete the project.” -- Chief Executive and Port Director Steven Cernak.
“We invested heavily with our capital, resources and reputation as we opened our East Coast hub here in 2009. We came with the understanding that if there were issues standing in the way of our growth -- controllable issues such as Mile Point -- they would be addressed. Thank you, Governor Scott, for acknowledging that private businesses like TraPac -- which provide jobs, revenue and opportunity for Florida’s citizens -- thrive when welcomed, supported and heard.” -- Dennis Kelly, VP/GM of MOL/TraPac.
Port of Tampa
“Governor Scott’s vision for Florida ports is truly a game changer for Florida’s long-term strategic viability in international trade. It will position our citizens today and future generations tomorrow to be prepared for the changing dynamics of a global economy.” -- Paul Anderson, CEO of the Tampa Port Authority.
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown
“The Mile Point project promotes job growth and increases Jacksonville’s strength in the global supply chain. It’s an opportunity to welcome more ships while increasing our capacity to export domestic goods. We are thankful for the governor’s investment and for this vote of confidence in our ability to continue opening doors into the world economy.” -- Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Metro Exports and Ports task force.
Sen. Aaron Bean
“Today is a great day for our community. By committing $36 million in state dollars to Mile Point, the governor has made it clear job creation is a priority. The more we support JAXPORT, the more Jacksonville will grow and support job growth.” -- Sen. Aaron Bean.
Sen. Eleanor Sobel
“Today’s announcement is a great step forward for Port Everglades and Broward County. The increased productivity that will be achieved at Port Everglades will create jobs and help our community compete for increased trade.” -- Sen. Eleanor Sobel.
Rep. Lake Ray
“I applaud Governor Scott for his support of JAXPORT. If we waited on the federal government to fund the Mile Point project, we would have no idea how long it would take for our port to meet its full potential. I look forward to working with the Legislature and FDOT to ensure we fund the Mile Point Project.” – Rep. Lake Ray.
Florida Department of Transportation
“Today is an exciting day for JAXPORT. I thank Governor Scott for his continued investment in Florida’s seaports. By finishing this important project and removing the existing navigational concerns, JAXPORT will be better suited to compete for and support continued cargo growth within the region and in the Southeast.” -- Secretary Ananth Prasad, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
Florida East Coast Railway
"The investment by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and support from the governor's office has made the dream of an Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) near dock at Port Everglades a reality," said Jim Hertwig, CEO and president. "This investment will create construction jobs now and logistics and transportation jobs in the near future. This ICTF will provide Port Everglades a competitive advantage for additional freight when the Panama Canal expands." -- Chief Executive Officer Jim Hertwig.
Florida Airports Council
‘Investment in Florida’s transportation infrastructure, whether in its ports, airports, or rail lines, is good for the economic health of the state of Florida. We know there is a close relationship between the modes, and strengthening one aspect of transportation strengthens us all. We commend Governor Scott for understanding that infrastructure improvements must be made not only to anticipate economic recovery but to lead it!” – Bill Johnson, Florida Airports Council.
Florida Trucking Association
“Florida’s port system is a vital component in the state’s logistical enterprise. Most any enhancement to existing port facilities or their operation means more
efficient and frequent freight movement throughout the state -- and we are fully supportive of measures that increase multimodal and intermodal transport of goods. As an essential industry that is the sole means of supply for more than 80 percent of the state’s communities, Florida’s trucking industry dovetails with other logistical modes statewide, and we encourage the governor and Florida Department of Transportation to make the movement of essential products easier, more flexible, and cost-effective. We appreciate the recognition of the critical role trucking plays in this equation and, to that end, we look forward to the increased opportunities for collaboration and enterprise that will result from port improvements and a focus on making Florida a key distribution point for goods both in and out of the U.S.” – Mary Lou Rajchel, president and CEO, Florida Trucking Association.
Florida Chamber Foundation
“Investing more in our ports and infrastructure will make Florida more competitive in a changing global economy and create jobs across Florida. The Florida Chamber’s goal is to double exports in five years and fully leverage our ports and infrastructure. This investment by Governor Scott will help Florida export more products made in Florida. According to the Florida Chamber Foundation, this investment could create 3,300 new ports jobs and 3,000 construction jobs. This type of investment and job creation will help secure Florida’s future.” – Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
Florida Retail Federation
“Improving Florida’s port infrastructure will help retailers keep shipping costs down, and move more products faster. We commend Governor Rick Scott for making investment in our ports a top priority, and we believe the entire state economy will benefit as a result,” -- Rick McAllister, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation.
Associated Industries of Florida
“The myriad economic impacts that Florida’s ports provide for our state are essential. Businesses, households and employers rely on our ports for economic stability – a stability they can’t get anywhere else. Florida’s 15 seaports create more than half a million direct and indirect jobs and contribute billions in economic value, as well as providing economic incentive for businesses – nationally and internationally – to do business in Florida. As a tireless advocate for Florida’s businesses, AIF stands with Governor Scott and applauds his investment in improvements that will ensure our ports are able to support Florida’s businesses and economy.” -- Tom Feeney, president and CEO of AIF
“Ports are critical to our economy, connecting Florida businesses and consumers with markets around the world, and we commend Governor Scott for making these critical investments. CSX is proud to serve Florida’s ports with its privately funded rail network, and to do our part to stimulate commerce and job creation.” -- Clarence Gooden, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of CSX Corp.
Floridians for Better Transportation
“The Panama Canal is currently undergoing a $5.3 billion expansion so it can accommodate the transit of larger cargo ships. This expansion, which includes the addition of a third set of locks that will be completed in 2015, is expected to bring in even more container traffic to U.S. ports, especially emerging ports on the East Coast, to include Florida ports with Governor Scott's commitment to dredge port channels to 50 feet. This increase in freight through our ports necessitates major infrastructure investments like the Port of Miami Tunnel and Tampa’s I-4/Selmon Crosstown Expressway Connector. ” -- Matthew D. Ubben, president of Floridians for Better Transportation and a former resident of the Panama Canal Zone.