AAPA Seaports Advisory

Port Infrastructure Finance: Florida

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Statutory Seaport Funding Increase Passes Florida Legislature

The Florida Legislature on March 11 approved legislation which includes an increase in the minimum statutory amount for seaport funding from $15 million to $25 million for the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development (FSTED) program. The program is administered by the Florida Ports Council. The bill is now in position to be signed by Florida Governor Rick Scott.

The legislation also establishes the Seaport Security Advisory Committee within the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council and a Seaport Security Grant Program, subject to specific appropriation.

"As chairman of the Florida Ports Council, and president and CEO of Port Tampa Bay, I see firsthand the direct connection between investment in port infrastructure and the success of the economy in our state and our community," said Paul Anderson. "It is extremely encouraging that the Florida Legislature continues to recognize and support the state’s seaports by bolstering long-term funding for port transportation infrastructure, and thusly, Florida’s role as a gateway for global trade."

FSTED is a state and local financing program of priority port transportation projects. Individual seaports partner with the state to identify priority infrastructure projects that "will improve the movement and intermodal transportation of cargo or passengers in commerce and trade and support the interests, purposes, and requirements of all ports."

Projects selected by the Florida Ports Council for funding are financed on a 50-50 matching basis using local and FSTED Program funds. The program is administered by the FSTED Council, which is charged with accomplishing the state’s seaport development mission of implementing capital improvement projects at the local level.

The FSTED Council is comprised of the port directors for Florida’s 15 public seaports and representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Department of Economic Opportunity.

"Investment in critical freight infrastructure signals to global businesses that Florida is committed to helping them serve their customers," stated Doug Wheeler, president and CEO of the Florida Ports Council. "Guaranteeing long-term investment in seaports helps attract trade and grow our economy, while creating jobs for Florida families. We thank the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate for their hard work and support."

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