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Florida Governor proposes $258 million in relief for Florida ports


Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis sent a proposal to the Florida Legislature for COVID-19 relief for the ports under the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

DeSantis proposed to the legislature that $1.4 billion be allocated for immediate use in the state and in total he outlined $4.1 billion for state programs for economic development, infrastructure, and the workforce over the next three years. Included in the transportation work program is $258 million in supplemental funding for Florida’s seaports.

“One of the areas of Florida that’s been hardest hit throughout the pandemic has been our seaports,” said DeSantis. The money he is proposing for the seaports are equal to the lost revenues since the start of the pandemic.

Florida Ports Council President & CEO Doug Wheeler provided the following statement regarding Governor Ron DeSantis’ recommendation to utilize $260 million of federal funds Florida is expected to receive from the recently signed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for seaport relief.

“On behalf of the state’s 15 deep-water seaports, the Florida Ports Council extends tremendous gratitude to Governor DeSantis for recommending critical relief funds for Florida’s ports as they continue to deliver necessities to businesses and consumers.

“Decreased passenger activity due to the pandemic is estimated to have cost the state 169,000 jobs and nearly $23 billion in economic activity through 2020. The advocacy of our governor, as well as the Department of Transportation Secretary, Kevin Thibault, has provided Florida’s seaports with the support they need to respond to significant economic impacts that we expect to continue while the passenger vessel industry remains suspended.”

“COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruption to the global economy and supply chain, bringing cruise business to a halt and reducing cargo volumes and revenue for Florida ports,” said JAXPORT CEO Eric Green responding to the governor’s proposal. “Florida’s seaports are critically important to the state’s economy. Cargo and cruise activity through Jacksonville’s seaport alone generates nearly 139,300 jobs in Florida and more than $31.1 billion in annual economic impact for the region and state.”  Photo: Florida Ports Council