USA: Florida Ports Council Pleased with Signing of SB 1998 and HB 599

The Florida Ports Council released the following statement on Governor Rick Scott signing SB 1998 and HB 599 yesterday at Port of Miami. Both transportation bills contain critical ports funding and language creating an expedited hearing process for environmental resource permits.

“Florida’s leadership is committed to making sure that our state is prepared to capture some of the growing international trade market share,” stated Doug Wheeler, president of the Florida Ports Council. “With Florida ports seeing more cargo and cruise passengers than ever, increased funding in seaport infrastructure is critical. We thank Governor Scott, the Florida Legislature and our partners at the Florida Department of Transportation for their focus on positioning Florida to become a significant global competitor.”

Specific issues of note in the above legislation include:

1. Increasing the statutory minimum for the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development (FSTED) program from $8 million to $15 million.

2. Creating the Strategic Port Investment Initiative with a minimum statutory amount of $35 million. This new program will be administered by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), in cooperation with Florida seaports.

3. Creating an expedited hearing process for environmental resource permits (dredged material) pursuant to section 120.574, F.S.

4. Authorizing a new bondable revenue stream of $10 million, beginning July 1, 2013, for seaport projects in the FDOT “adopted work program.”

[mappress]

Dredging Today Staff, June 15, 2012

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