Florida Governor Rick Scott has made a commitment of nearly $35m for strategic port projects across the state, which will be recommended to the Legislature for the upcoming legislative session.
The additional investments will be made in the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) Work Program.
The investment will be used for three Florida ports: Port Canaveral, Port Everglades and the Port of Tampa.
Of the total investment, $9.7m will be used for development of a container yard in Port Canaveral, $14.7m to support the Turning Notch project at Port Everglades, and $10.4m to improve the container yard at the Port of Tampa.
Speaking at the American Association of Port Authority’s (AAPA) Annual Convention in Orlando, Scott said they are on the right track to growing more jobs for families with increased investments in their seaports.
"With this nearly $35m 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 added.
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In the period from 2011-2014, the government has allocated $642m for on-port projects, including waterside projects for Canaveral, Miami and Jacksonville, and terminal and rail improvements at Tampa.
In September 2013, the Governor and the Cabinet approved a $150m bond issuance to fund 16 important projects at Florida seaports.
In the current fiscal year, the state of Florida is funding over $275m directly on seaport projects.
PortMiami port director Bill Johnson said these strategic investments in Florida ports will bring short-term and long-term economic benefits for the region, the state and the nation.
"Governor Scott’s recognition of ports as job creators and commitment to growing our state through international trade is true leadership in the face of a challenging economic landscape," Johnson added.
Tampa Port Authority president and CEO Paul Anderson said their ports and their citizens will all benefit in significant ways as their ports continue to build infrastructure, modernise and create jobs, partnerships and economic value that they badly need for their economic health, moving forward.
"The state is investing in legacy projects delivering generational impacts," Anderson added.
In addition, a new Intermodal Logistics Centers (ILC) infrastructure support programme provides a $5m annual allocation for ILC project funding to assist in constructing access improvements for ILCs planned and funded with private sector funds that are moving freight through Florida’s seaports.