Governor Scott On President's Port Improvement Plans: "Too Little, Too Late"

Apr 2, 2013

President Barack Obama visited the Port of Miami last Friday to talk about his proposal to improve America’s infrastructure, including trade ports. But, Florida Governor Rick Scott says Obama’s effort is too little, too late.

“It’s a partnership with the private sector that creates jobs, upgrading what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods, modern pipelines to withstand a storm, modern schools worthy of our children.”

President Barack Obama explained his plan in a video of his speech that aired on ABC News. His proposal includes $4 billion in loans and grants for infrastructure projects like a tunnel that’s already being built to alleviate traffic to the Port of Miami and deepening the port to accommodate larger ships. He also wants $10 billion dollars for the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank, all of which he says will help put construction workers back to work.  But, Florida Governor Rick Scott wishes the President would have pushed for the money before Florida started funding port improvement projects on its own.

“As we know he’s been late to the table. He’s been to the party of bringing the investment into the ports the federal government should’ve been doing in the past, the $77 million at the Port of Miami, the $36 million at mile point in Jacksonville. So, I’m hoping he will come up with that money and give it to us so we can invest more money into our ports,” Scott said.

The $77 million the state allocated for the dredging of the Port of Miami came after Panama Canal officials announced that they would be doing the same. Miami would need to accommodate the canal’s larger trade ships, or risk losing trade to other east coast ports. Port of Miami’s Director Bill Johnson said Florida’s ports are incredibly important, since he says trade is closely tied to the state’s economy.

“The last two years have been phenomenal, not just for Florida ports, but for any of us in trade and of course Florida is a trade state- international trade,” Johnson explained.

Governor Scott says more than 500,000 jobs are tied to Florida ports, with the Port of Miami holding about 200,000. Congress has yet to approve President Obama’s infrastructure plan.