The budget signed Monday by Florida Gov. Rick Scott includes a record $278 million for development of the the state's 15 seaports.
Port directors applauded Scott for making ports and trade a priority of his economic agenda. Florida is providing $112 million toward the $181 million cost of dredging the Port of Miami's main channel from 42 to 50 feet, including $77 million for the federal share of the project at Scott's direction. The governor has also committed to pay $38 million towards navigation improvements for the Port of Jacksonville in the absence of federal funding.
The biennial budget passed by the legislature also includes about $1.3 billion for major highway improvements.
“We are fortunate to have a governor who understands that transportation infrastructure investments, such as roads and ports, will pay dividends in attracting new businesses and enable Florida to grow as a center for international trade and commerce," Bill Johnson, the Port of Miami's executive director and the chairman of the Florida Ports Council, said in a statement. - Eric Kulisch