Marketing and Public Relations Manager
PALMETTO, Fla. – Port Manatee officials are pleased with passage by the Florida House of Representatives of a measure to increase mandatory funding for Sunshine State ports, and they encourage the Florida Senate to follow suit.
“Port Manatee is delighted that the Florida House has again recognized the strategic importance of our state’s seaports with its overwhelming approval of H.B. 7027, and we urge the Florida Senate to assent,” said Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee’s executive director. “Providing additional funding for port infrastructure projects is vital to sustaining and enhancing the leadership role of Florida ports in global commerce.”
Buqueras in particular cited appreciation for the support of H.B. 7027 by the Manatee County delegation – Rep. Jim Boyd, R-71st District; Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-70th District; and Rep. Greg Steube, R-73rd District – as well as Rep. Patrick Joseph Rooney Jr., R-85th District, chairman of the House Transportation and Ports Subcommittee, the bill’s sponsor.
Each of the Manatee County legislators was among the 117 state representatives who voted Feb. 3 for passage of the measure, against just 2 nays.
H.B. 7027 includes an increase to $25 million from $15 million in the minimum statutory amount of annual funding of the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development program, which is administered by the Florida Ports Council.
Located “Where Tampa Bay Meets the Gulf of Mexico,” Port Manatee is the closest U.S. deepwater seaport to the expanding Panama Canal, with 10 40-foot-draft berths serving container, bulk, breakbulk, heavylift, project and general cargo customers. The port generates more than $2.3 billion in annual economic impact for the local community, while supporting more than 24,000 jobs, without levying ad-valorem taxes.