TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s seaport directors presented the Florida Ports Council (FPC) Navigator Award to Senator Jeff Brandes, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, today at the FPC Board Meeting in Orlando. The award is a special recognition of Senator Brandes’ support of legislation to increase annual seaport funding to ensure Florida maintains its position as a global gateway to the world.
“Senator Brandes has continued to be a leader in creating better transportation opportunities for all Floridians. His steadfast commitment and investment in the transportation network, especially in port infrastructure, will have a lasting and positive effect for generations to come,” said Paul Anderson, Chairman of the Florida Ports Council. “We are excited to honor him and the tremendous work he has done on behalf of our great state.”
Senator Brandes championed key legislation bringing the minimum statutory amount for seaport funding from $15 million to $25 million for the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development (FSTED) program. The FSTED program is administered by the Florida Ports Council.
“We are grateful for Senator Brandes’ advocacy to grow Florida’s economy through seaport development and transportation infrastructure,” said Doug Wheeler, president and CEO of the Florida Ports Council. “The ports support approximately 700,000 jobs and nearly $97 billion in total economic activity in 2015. Senator Brandes’ encouragement ensures Florida has the infrastructure necessary to accommodate global trends such as larger vessels, an expanded Panama Canal and shifting trade routes.”
The FSTED Program 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 Council for funding are financed on a 50-50 matching basis using local funds 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.