Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez released the following statement regarding the President‚Äôs announcement that PortMiami‚Äôs Deep Dredge Project is one of seven U.S. seaport infrastructure improvements of ‚Äúnational significance‚ÄĚ and will be expedited by federal agencies overseeing the projects.
‚ÄúMiami-Dade County has been ahead of the curve in making major infrastructure improvements to its seaport, most notably the deepening of PortMiami‚Äôs channel to -50 feet, which will allow for the largest cargo ships in the world to dock at our port. Thanks to the State of Florida, the project is fully funded with construction to begin early next year. PortMiami will be the only U.S. East Coast Port, south of Norfolk, Va., to be at minus-50 feet when the expanded Panama Canal opens in early 2015.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThis is a win-win for our community. It is important to note that the Deep Dredge will create more than an estimated 30,000 jobs throughout the state and further our efforts to increase international trade and commerce.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThe President‚Äôs Executive Order prioritizes projects at five Eastern Seaboard seaports as part of the ‚ÄėWe Can‚Äôt Wait Initiative.‚Äô PortMiami‚Äôs inclusion on the list of projects underscores the importance of the Deep Dredge and Miami‚Äôs status as an international gateway and a key center for world trade.‚ÄĚ
PortMiami Director Bill Johnson stated:
‚ÄúOver the past several years, the Deep Dredge has been a Number One priority for PortMiami. We are pleased now to receive federal recognition of its importance. Governor Scott and the State Legislature made this project happen through advancing state financing of the federal share of the project. We hope this signals a commitment by the White House to include PortMiami in the FY 2014 federal budget ‚Äďthis is now the critical issue.‚ÄĚ
Earlier this week, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners approved the project agreement that allows the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to bid the dredge contract next month. The job will be underway early next year and will be completed at the same time as the expanded Panama Canal opens.
Johnson, who chairs the Florida Ports Council representing the state‚Äôs 15 deepwater ports, said, ‚ÄúFlorida‚Äôs leadership for PortMiami‚Äôs Deep Dredge, and support of other seaport projects throughout the state, serves as a national model for local-state-federal partnerships.‚ÄĚ
Dredging Today Staff, July 20, 2012; Image: miamidade.gov