Rick Scott calls for $35 million in port improvements, $10.4 million to Tampa

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Several strategic Florida ports, including Tampa, will get some much-needed improvements, according to an announcement from Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott recommends spending almost $35 million for port project allocations in the 2014 legislative session, including $10.4 million to the Port of Tampa for enhancements to the container yard.

“We’ll enhance our ports’ ability to move more goods which position Florida to play an even greater role in global trade,” Scott said in a statement reported by Mark Holan in the Tampa Bay Business Journal. The governor drafted similar comments to address the American Association of Port Authorities’ annual conference later in the day. The 2013 AAPA meeting ends Thursday in Orlando.

Scott’s plan also gives Port Everglades $14.7 million for a turning basin project; Port Canaveral will get $9.7 million for a container yard improvement.

While the governor took heat in March 2011 for rejecting more than $2 billion in federal funds for high-speed rail between Orlando and Tampa, Scott was praised by others for redirecting state funds to a dredging project in Miami.

More than $642 million has gone to strategic port projects according to the Business Journal.

“I applaud the Governor for his continued investment in Florida’s seaports,” Ananth Prasad, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary said in the statement. “These strategic port improvements will position Florida to capitalize on the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2015.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.