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Finally! Feds Recognize Urgency of Florida Port Upgrades

July 19, 2012 - 6:00pm

There was a hint of its about time Thursday, as Florida port leaders praised a federal announcement to speed up work at JaxPort. State officials took it as a sign the feds are joining their effort to push upgrades at Sunshine State port facilities.

With President Obama campaigning in Florida on Thursday, the White House announced We Cant Wait, a program that would advance the permitting process for the Jacksonville ports Intermodal Container Facility and move up a study to dredge the ship channel for JaxPort by a year. The facility will help assist the movement of cargo in and out of the port by providing on-dock rail.

Last year Florida Gov. Rick Scott had to put up state dollars to advance the federally backed work to deepen PortMiami.

The Florida Ports Council noted that additional projects are expected to be announced in coming weeks.

Comments on the federal plan:

Florida Ports Council President Doug Wheeler

The Florida Ports Council is glad to see the federal government recognizing the importance of Florida seaports and freight infrastructure as a priority.

PortMiami Director and Florida Ports Council Chair Bill Johnson

Over the past several years, the Deep Dredge has been a No. 1 priority for PortMiami. We are pleased now to receive federal recognition of its importance. Governor Scott and the state Legislature made this project happen through advancing state financing of the federal share of the project. We hope this signals a commitment by the White House to include PortMiami in the FY 2014 federal budget -- this is now the critical issue.

Floridas leadership for PortMiamis Deep Dredge, and support of other seaport projects throughout the state, serves as a national model for local-state-federal partnerships.

JAXPORT CEO and Florida Ports Council Legislative Chair Paul Anderson

"We are moving from talk to action, and that's what it's going to take to keep this nation competitive globally. Expediting careful review of the process toward our deepening project and ICTF construction and the other projects on the president's list will create benefits for generations to come. By elevating the discussion of the critical needs of U.S. ports to the highest levels of government, our president and our lawmakers are sending a clear message to the world: We are not going to fall behind; we are improving our process every day and we will create the ports of the future."

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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