Rick Scott and Cabinet Double Down on Ports Investments
Around the State
With the Panama Canal expansion expected to be complete in late 2014 and a rival project starting to form in Nicaragua, Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet doubled down on Florida’s commitment to ports on Tuesday.
Scott and the Cabinet approved sending $150 million from bond proceeds to finance ports projects across the state.
The funds will help 16 projects approved by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad applauded the investments on Tuesday.
“I applaud Governor Scott and the members of the Florida Cabinet for their commitment to invest in our ports,” Prasad said. “This funding will ensure needed port improvement projects will be completed.”
Much of the funds will be used to prepare Florida’s ports for the Panama Canal expansion. The revisions will allow larger vessels to move through the canal. Ports across the Gulf and the Atlantic seaboard have been scrambling to ready their facilities so these larger ships will be able to dock.
Port Everglades will get $34.5 million to more than double the length of the Southport Turning Notch Extension which will create at least five new berths there. PortMiami is penciled to get $25 million to dredge channels and berths allowing larger ships to dock there.
Other funds will go to various projects. On the First Coast, JaxPort is scheduled to get almost $15 million to improve facilities ranging from terminals to wharves. Port Manatee, the closest American port to the eastern end of the Panama Canal, will get $6.4 million to rehabilitate six berths there. Port Panama City will get $2.2 million asit expands its carrier terminal.
Florida Ports Council President Doug Wheeler cheered the additional funding on Tuesday.
“Thanks to Florida’s investment in seaport infrastructure, we are positioning our state as an aggressive competitor in the global marketplace,” Wheeler said. “Florida’s seaports look forward to continuing to work with all of our partners in our efforts to expand Florida’s role as a global gateway and support jobs for Florida families.”
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