Florida Gov. Rick Scott and members of the state’s Cabinet have approved $150 million in bond proceeds to finance projects at Florida ports through the Seaport Investment Program.
The Florida Department of Transportation has programmed $150 million in projects to receive bond proceeds for fiscal 2014, which will be issued by the Division of Bond Finance. Working directly with Florida seaports, the state DOT has identified 16 projects to be funded under bond proceeds. The projects relate in particular to the expansion of the Panama Canal.
“This funding will ensure needed port improvement projects will be completed,” Florida Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad said in a written statement.
Some of the projects approved for funding include work at the Port of Jacksonville, Port of Tampa and Port Manatee:
The Jacksonville Port Authority was awarded $27.5 million, including $14.8 million for Blount Island Terminal improvements. The terminal project includes the development and redevelopment of terminal facilities, wharf rehabilitation and paving, tenant building improvements, rail improvements and drainage upgrades and repairs.
“This investment clearly sends the message once again: Florida’s leaders understand the value of building port infrastructure today, and the returns that will come in the form of jobs and economic opportunity,” Jaxport CEO Brian Taylor said in a published remark.
The Port of Tampa will receive $22.7 million in bond funds, allowing it to continue to build on capital improvements at Port Redwing, Hooker’s Point and Eastport. The Port Redwing project will receive $7.5 million for improvements in berthing, cargo storage, road and rail connectivity, dredging, navigational, cargo handling equipment, utilities and security. The $9.2 million for the Hooker’s Point project will assist in development of the port’s main peninsula, with investments in auto terminals, refrigerated warehousing and transloading, road construction, an intermodal container transfer facility, container terminal expansion and gate relocation. Finally, the Eastport project’s $6 million will be used towards a berth, storage yard and road relocation, which comprise the second phase of a new multi-berth waterside and landside development.
Port Manatee was awarded $6.4 million to double load capacity at six berths and to increase its capability to accommodate potential future draft of up to 45 feet.
“Gov. Scott’s recognition of the importance of the project to enhance these six berths demonstrates the dedication of Florida’s leadership to seeing that our port and others in the state are fully prepared to serve burgeoning commerce well into the future,” said Carol Whitmore, chairman of the Manatee County Port Authority.
Other ports awarded funding through the Seaport Investment Program include Port Everglades, which received $34.5 million to lengthen the existing Southport Turning Notch from 900 feet to 2,400 feet at the existing depth of 42 feet and provide additional berths; PortMiami, which received $25 million for the final phase of its Deep Dredge project; and Port Panama City, which was awarded $2.2 million for its container terminal expansion project.