(Miami, Florida – March 5, 2013) - Bill Johnson, chairman of the Florida Ports Council and the Director of PortMiami, was recognized by Governor Rick Scott at today’s State of the State address during his remarks about the importance of Florida’s ports to economic development. The governor emphasized the need for strategic infrastructure investments to grow Florida’s economy, highlighting his budget recommendation of $288 million in seaport improvements.
“Governor Scott’s longstanding commitment to investing in the state’s transportation and logistics infrastructure is to be commended. We are fortunate to have a governor who recognizes the economic impact of Florida’s transportation system, including seaports, and the great potential for growth,” said Johnson, who was a guest of the Governor at the annual State of the State address.
“The $288 million in the Governor’s recommended Florida Department of Transportation Work Program for seaport infrastructure improvements will pay dividends now and for decades to come,” Johnson said.
Governor Scott said the expansion of the Panama Canal, due for completion in 2015, will be an opportunity for the state to grow international trade and commerce including at PortMiami which is deepening its channel to accommodate the larger cargo container ships that will begin passing through the Canal in two years. New trade opportunities, the governor said, will create thousands of jobs throughout the state.
The strategic seaport investments include improving connectivity for enhanced freight movement, enhancing existing berths and terminals, strategic dredging of channels, and increasing capacity for larger ships both for cargo and cruise. These investments are complemented by initiatives such as removing the manufacturing equipment tax, which together will result in increased exports, and therefore, job growth in Florida.