Rick Scott: Florida Can’t Wait for Feds to Improve Ports
Around the State
The money would complete the second phase of the TraPac Container Terminal project, allowing the Jacksonville Port Authority to fix the navigational problems in the St. Johns River at Mile Point.
“Florida’s ports are critical to providing jobs for Florida families -- and we can no longer wait on the federal government to fund such an important project,” Scott stated in a release.
The project, in which Scott is proposing $36 million in transportation dollars to be matched by $2 million from JaxPort and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is expected to generate 3,500 jobs.
The proposal is to have the Florida Department of Transportation work with the the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council to include the funding in the department's Tentative Work Program and the state Legislature.
This is the second time that Scott has directed state money for a port project that was long-awaiting federal funding.
In 2011, Scott put up $77 million for the dredging of PortMiami to 50 feet.
“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,” said state Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville, who has been one of the leading port proponents in the Legislature.
Port backers have claimed the river work at fixing Mile Point is needed to better allow the larger ships that will use the expanded Panama Canal to dock in Jacksonville. Currently larger ships navigating the waterway have to time their passage for high tide.
“With JaxPort being a vital economic engine for Florida, addressing any navigational issues and thereby increasing the port’s competitiveness is critical,” Florida Ports Council President Doug Wheeler stated in a release.
“We are thankful that the state is recognizing the importance of JaxPort’s Mile Point project and its economic benefits from increased shipping and freight movement.”
Reach Jim Turner at email@example.com or at (772) 215-9889.