Thursday, March 28, 2013

Governor Says Obama "Late To Party" Before Visit Friday

Obama Visit To Miami Preceded By Governor's Plea For Fed Money
MIAMI, FL. -- Florida Governor Rick Scott says President Obama is "late to the party" and wants the Federal government to reimburse Florida for millions invested in Florida port infrastructure.

The day before President Obama’s planned arrival at Port Miami, Florida Governor Rick Scott held a conference call with Florida Ports Council Chairman and Director of Port Miami Bill Johnson to discuss whether the President’s port visit will come with a reimbursement to state taxpayers for paying the federal cost share of port projects.

In a press release, Scott said, “We are certainly glad President Obama is coming to the PortMiami tomorrow, but he is late to the party on Florida port investment. In the last three years, state taxpayers have invested $425 million in our ports to take advantage of the benefits of trade with Central and South America, and to prepare our state for the expansion of the Panama Canal and the potential for increased trade with Asia. 

"State taxpayers has stepped up time and time again to fund the federal share of projects in Miami and Jacksonville to support thousands of jobs. We want the President to step up to the plate in Miami tomorrow and reimburse our state millions of dollars that we can reinvest in our ports and support even more job creation."

Scott continues saying, “In 2011, we worked with the Legislature to invest $77 million in State Transportation Funds for the dredging project to deepen the PortMiami. That supplemented $35.5 million of existing funding - which is 75 percent of the total project cost of approximately $150 million. We could not wait for the federal government to come to the table with their share of this project. We expect the completion of the Panama Canal expansion in 2015, and also needed to keep up with our growing export trade.

“When President Obama comes to the PortMiami tomorrow, we would like him to commit the federal government’s reimbursement of $75 million for this project. That reimbursement for state costs could then be reinvested in the State Transportation Fund and used for additional state port investments.

“Over in Jacksonville this January we also announced a $38 million investment for JAXPORT to correct a turning notch and navigation difficulties. This project will create a more navigable and safe route for major container ships and support an increase in cargo volumes to create an additional 3,500 port-related jobs. Again with this Jacksonville project, Florida could not wait on the federal government to come to the table so we advanced state funds to move the project forward. In JAXPORT, the state stands to receive a federal reimbursement of $36 million for this project. Once again, the state taxpayers stepped up when the federal government did not.”

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