(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez released the following statement today regarding the President's announcement that PortMiami's Deep Dredge Project is one of seven U.S. seaport infrastructure improvements of "national significance" and will be expedited by federal agencies overseeing the projects.
"Miami-Dade County has been ahead of the curve in making major infrastructure improvements to its seaport, most notably the deepening of PortMiami's channel to -50 feet, which will allow for the largest cargo ships in the world to dock at our port. Thanks to the State of Florida, the project is fully funded with construction to begin early next year. PortMiami will be the only U.S. East Coast Port, south of Norfolk, Va., to be at minus-50 feet when the expanded Panama Canal opens in early 2015."
"This is a win-win for our community. It is important to note that the Deep Dredge will create more than an estimated 30,000 jobs throughout the state and further our efforts to increase international trade and commerce."
"The President's Executive Order prioritizes projects at five Eastern Seaboard seaports as part of the 'We Can't Wait Initiative.' PortMiami's inclusion on the list of projects underscores the importance of the Deep Dredge and Miami's status as an international gateway and a key center for world trade."
PortMiami Director Bill Johnson stated:
"Over the past several years, the Deep Dredge has been a Number One priority for PortMiami. We are pleased now to receive federal recognition of its importance. Governor Scott and the State Legislature made this project happen through advancing state financing of the federal share of the project. We hope this signals a commitment by the White House to include PortMiami in the FY 2014 federal budget -this is now the critical issue."
Earlier this week, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners approved the project agreement that allows the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to bid the dredge contract next month. The job will be underway early next year and will be completed at the same time as the expanded Panama Canal opens.
Johnson, who chairs the Florida Ports Council representing the state's 15 deepwater ports, said, "Florida's leadership for PortMiami's Deep Dredge, and support of other seaport projects throughout the state, serves as a national model for local-state-federal partnerships."