TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (September 20, 2013) – Florida port directors and transportation leaders met with more than 20 congressional members in Washington D.C. this week on top seaport issues, specifically discussing the House Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) and its importance to Florida seaports. For the Washington Fly-In, the Florida Ports Council were joined by Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Secretary Ananth Prasad and Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO) Director Jesse Panuccio in providing insight from the Florida perspective on the need for investment in Florida’s freight infrastructure and seaports. The Florida ports represented were Canaveral, Everglades, JAXPORT, Key West, Manatee, Miami, Palm Beach, Panama City, Pensacola and Tampa.
“The Florida Congressional delegation was supportive of passing this legislation and truly understands that the legislation will help Florida ports capture trade and create jobs,” said Doug Wheeler, president and CEO of the Florida Ports Council. “We were very encouraged to see the House bill pass out of committee markup this week, and look forward to working with the members in making sure the bill is as comprehensive as possible.”
“As Chairman of the Florida Ports Council, it was an honor to participate in meetings with our dedicated Congressional members and hear their perspective on the legislation,” said Bill Johnson, director of PortMiami. “We would also like to thank Secretary Prasad and DEO Director Panuccio for joining together in advocating for streamlined Army Corps processes and the release of federal funds intended for harbor maintenance.”
In addition to the individual meetings, the Florida Congressional Delegation hosted a briefing with presentations by the FDOT and FDEO. Other participants in the Fly-In include representatives from the Florida Governor’s Office, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Transportation Commission and Florida agency staff.
The expectation is that the House version will be deliberated by the full House in October, and then be conferenced with the Senate bill.