What they are saying: leaders weigh in on Jacksonville port improvement projects

Oct 28, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Oct. 25, 2013) – Here’s what government, industry and local leaders had to say in support of Jacksonville’s harbor improvement projects and keeping these projects on track:

Governor Rick Scott

“We are pleased the United States House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) that includes the authorization for Mile Point and also allows JAXPORT’s channel deepening project to remain on schedule. Florida ports are critical to growing jobs and opportunities for Florida families and because we could not wait on the federal government to fund Mile Point, we committed $36 million in state funding for this important project this year.  I hope Congress steps up for Florida families and enacts legislation that maintains these critical provisions.”

Congresswoman Corrine Brown

“As we move toward the House-Senate conference committee, I will wholeheartedly engage the House, the Senate, and the White House to ensure the State of Florida is not left out. In fact, I have already made a request to the House Democratic Leadership to serve as a conferee on the Water Resources Development Act Conference Committee to ensure the State of Florida’s interests are heard.”

Congressman Ander Crenshaw

“Deepening the St. Johns River means more jobs, more trade, and more economic growth for the region; that’s why my support for this project is stronger than ever. I look forward to standing together as a team with Rep. Corrine Brown, JAXPORT officials, the Army Corps of Engineers and other officials to make it happen. If we do not act quickly, JAXPORT will fall behind competitors on the East Coast, and the economic engine that has driven this community for the past decade will be put in danger.”

State Representative Lake Ray

“Our Florida delegation, and certainly those representing Northeast Florida, has worked tirelessly at the federal level because they recognize how important the deepening and the improvement of this channel are to us. At the state level, we’ve funded $120 million over the past few years for improvements here at the port. I think that’s something that certainly adds to their discussion in Washington.”

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown

“We continue to focus closely on gaining authorization for dredging the channel and improving JAXPORT by working with our partners. Our port is a crucial economic engine for Jacksonville, and we have taken important steps to gain approval for upgrading Mile Point and moving ahead with planning and design for the channel deepening. My administration is working to help lead our efforts with members of Congress, state leaders and national officials to elevate JAXPORT to its full potential and create jobs and investment in Jacksonville.”

Jacksonville City Councilman/Port Liaison Matt Schellenberg

“I urge everyone to pay close attention to issues surrounding our efforts to deepening the harbor and support the hard work being done by our state and federal partners to make this project a reality. Today, I heard many leaders speak about the path ahead with words of determination and cooperation. The return on focusing our energies on these projects now will be a vibrant community filled with meaningful opportunity for our children and their children.”

JAX Chamber CEO Daniel Davis

“On behalf of over 3,000 members of Jacksonville's business community, we are encouraged by the news from the nation's capital on JAXPORT's Mile Point and channel deepening projects. At the JAX Chamber, we are proud to be a partner in this effort to grow jobs and increase Jacksonville's competitiveness.  We stand ready to help our Congressional delegation, JAXPORT and the City of Jacksonville as we move forward toward progress.”

Colonel Alan M. Dodd, Commander and District Engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

“The president challenged us to take this project, accelerate it by 14 months, and deliver a chief’s report by April 2014. We are going to deliver on that. As we move forward, we will go right into engineering and design, so that when we have the authorization we are able to begin construction. This project is important to Jacksonville, it’s important to the state and the nation, and it’s the Corps of Engineers’ responsibility to get it done and that’s what we are going to do.”    

Dennis Kelly, Vice President and General Manager, TraPac Container Terminal at Dames Point

“This is very positive movement. It is encouraging to see that there are potential opportunities to keep the deepening project moving through these pieces of legislation and, of course, Mile Point is important to our business as well. It looks like we can get past the hurdles, stay in the hunt and capture these opportunities for our business and the region.”

Steve Halverson, CEO, The Haskell Company

"On behalf of the Jacksonville Civic Council, I congratulate JAXPORT on the news today of approval of the Mile Point project and the ability to stay on course with the beginning of design for the channel deepening project. Having a deeper water port allows our region to compete for the next generation of cargo ships and the economic activity this will generate."

JAXPORT Board Chairman Joe York

"We are fortunate to have dedicated public servants at the federal, state and local levels who understand the significance of our port projects and the economic growth they will deliver to us for decades to come. It is important that the momentum and passion here today continue to be a force to be reckoned with in Tallahassee and Washington and around the world because the international maritime industry is listening and listening closely.”

JAXPORT CEO Brian Taylor

"Through the tenacity and perseverance of our representation in Washington, and the dedication and determination of so many others, the path toward completing our major projects remains open before us and we are confidently taking our next steps.”

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