Rick Scott Doubles Down on Ports Investments
Around the State
Speaking at the American Association of Port Authorities' annual convention in Orlando on Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott announced he would push a measure to invest almost $35 million more into projects in the next legislative session.
“We’re on the right track to growing more jobs for families with increased investments in our seaports," Scott said. With this nearly $35 million commitment for critical port projects, we’ll enhance our ports’ ability to move more goods which will position Florida to play an even greater role in global trade. Our strategy to make Florida the gateway for global trade is working.”
Scott’s proposal includes sending $14.7 million to Port Everglades to lengthen the turnaround area for cargo ships from 900 feet to 2,400 feet. Scott also called for sending $10.4 million to the Port of Tampa and $9.7 million to Port Canaveral for work on container yards.
As they get ready for the completion of the Panama Canal, ports across Florida are scrambling to make changes so larger vessels can dock in the Sunshine State. Already the state has allocated $642 million for port improvements, including more than $275 million in the current fiscal year.
With these port investments coming through the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) Work Program, Secretary Ananth Prasad said that funding these projects would help prepare Florida for the Panama Canal expansion. “I applaud the governor for his continued investment in Florida’s seaports,” Prasad said. “These strategic port improvements will position Florida to capitalize on the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015.”
Doug Wheeler, the president and CEO of the Florida Port Council, stressed improving ports would create jobs and help ensure Florida will become a hub for the hemisphere. "Florida has become a model for the nation in strategic port investment and growing jobs due to the leadership of Governor Scott," Wheeler insisted. “The allocations approved for 2014-2015 will further position Florida as the gateway to the Americas and beyond."
Scott also highlighted more support for the state’s Intermodal Logistics Centers (ILC), backing more private-sector funding for additional improvements on Wednesday. Back in August, when Scott unveiled his support for the ILC, he insisted these investments would create 1,200 jobs across the Sunshine State.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.