For Immediate Release:
February 22, 2011

Media Contact:
Olga Vega

Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz asks federal task force to push for Deep Dredge dollars

(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- 
Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz is pushing state and federal leaders to re-examine the importance of funding the Deep Dredge Project for the Port of Miami. As part of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, Commissioner Diaz called upon its members to urge the Obama Administration to provide funding to complete that project that would deepen Miami Harbor to -50 feet in order to accommodate the new, larger cargo ships that will pass through an expanded Panama Canal beginning in 2014.

Last week, the commissioner presented the Task Force with Miami-Dade County's Commissioner Rebeca Sosa's resolution asking the federal government to provide the $75 million needed to complete the dredging. In turn, Task Force members, who work for agencies including the U.S. Department of Transportation, Department of the Interior, and other federal and state groups, will continue to advocate for the construction dollars.

According to a report from WorldCity, the Miami Customs District, which includes seaports and airports from as far north as Palm Beach County to Key West, surpassed the $100 billion mark for trade, exports, and imports last year. "Obviously, Miami-Dade has been extremely competitive in trade last year and we want to be able to continue to compete by the time the Panama Canal expansion is finished," said Commissioner Diaz. "This would be a boon to our economy financially and has the potential to create thousands of jobs."

In addition to the Port of Miami's project, Commissioner Diaz also presented a resolution last week at the County Commission meeting to further expand Miami-Dade's trade options with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. The legislation, which was unanimously approved, urges the U.S. Congress to approve free trade agreements with all three countries. Colombia, Panama, and South Korea are among Miami-Dade's top trading partners, contributing over $5 billion in total trade annually to the local economy.

For more information, please contact Commissioner Diaz's office at 305-599-1200.


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