FMP Salutes Federal Investment in Florida’s Maritime Infrastructure at JAXPORT Celebration
JACKSONVILLE, November 22, 2019 – Members of the Florida Maritime Partnership (FMP) were honored to join with U.S. Maritime Administrator Rear Adm. Mark Buzby, U.S. Representatives John Rutherford and Ted Yoho, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, JAXPORT Executive Director Eric Green, and other officials at JAXPORT today for the groundbreaking ceremony of an expanded and upgraded SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal.
“We appreciate Secretary Chao and the Trump administration’s investment in Florida’s seaport infrastructure, as well as the support shown today from our state and local leaders. The domestic maritime industry is proud to serve America’s economic, national, and homeland security interests, and we are committed to giving the American people a good return on their investment by creating jobs and operating the United States transportation system safely and efficiently,” said Christopher Smith, the president of the Florida Maritime Partnership.
The facility is funded in part by a $20 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant. Known as the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation program, these grants incentivize infrastructure projects that are important to national objectives.
“An investment in the Port of Jacksonville delivers benefits for the local economy and for American workers. It is a central part of President Trump and Secretary Chao’s belief of investing in infrastructure to grow our economy and create jobs. This grant will also indirectly help support the jobs of the American civilian mariners who crew military sealift vessels that help us carry the fight wherever we must go,” said Admiral Buzby.
“I am honored to be associated with the strong North Florida Congressional delegation including Representative John Rutherford and Representative Mike Waltz that has worked hard to make this project a reality. For too long, investments in our ports and maritime industry were overlooked and as a result, we’ve faced unprecedented challenges. Under this Administration and with President Trump’s leadership, that is all changing. My team and I have worked tirelessly over the last 8 years to support and grow the JAXPORT footprint. While the importance of the economic engine that exists as a result of JAXPORT cannot be overstated, it is also important to remember the critical importance that this port and region plays for our national defense. Continued investments such as this will not only provide reliable and well-paying jobs, but will ensure that the maritime industry and the many purposes it serves here at home are secure. I would like to thank all of the stakeholders and my colleagues who appreciate and work towards that continue to work towards the common goal of a vibrant and secure port here at Jacksonville,” said U.S. Rep. Yoho.
“It was an honor to help secure a $20 million federal BUILD grant for JAXPORT’s Blunt Island Terminal enhancements,” said U.S. Rep. Rutherford. “Today’s announcement comes in addition to the millions of federal dollars already flowing to JAXPORT and other transportation projects throughout the region. It is clear that President Trump, Secretary Chao, and Admiral Buzby share our vision of making Northeast Florida a major logistics hub of the Eastern Seaboard. This award today is an example of what happens when congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle come together to support a common goal. As JAXPORT continues to set record cargo volumes year after year, I am committed to using my role on the House Appropriations Committee to support the vision of our local leaders and the folks at JAXPORT who work hard every day to keep our port city thriving.”
Since launching the partnership in March, JAXPORT is the only seaport to join the Florida Maritime Partnership. Sixteen other members make up the coalition of businesses and organizations operating in Florida that recognize a strong domestic maritime industry is critical for America’s economic, national, and homeland security, and is best supported by maintaining the Jones Act as the foundation of America’s domestic maritime policy. The domestic maritime industry creates 9,120 jobs in Jacksonville and has a $1.84 billion impact on the community.
“This facility represents a milestone in the evolution of our port,” said JAXPORT Vice Chairman Jamie Shelton. “Together, with the support of Secretary Elaine Chao and our federal, state and local partners—we are investing in our region’s future and ensuring JAXPORT can continue to create more jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Northeast Florida.”
About the Florida Maritime Partnership
The Florida Maritime Partnership (FMP) advocates for the state’s vibrant domestic maritime industry, which sustains nearly 66,000 American jobs and creates an annual economic impact of $14.6 billion.
Our diverse membership represents vessel owners and operators, shipboard and shoreside workers, shipbuilders and repair yards, equipment manufacturers and vendors, dredging and marine construction contractors, numerous maritime associations and national security organizations that all recognize a strong domestic maritime industry is critical for America’s economic, national, and homeland security, and is best supported by maintaining the Jones Act as the foundation of America’s domestic maritime policy. For more, visit floridamaritimepartnership.com.