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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Are ports another reason Rick Scott killed high speed rail?



Sure, Gov. Rick Scott has expressed concern all along that high speed rail would end up being a drain on Florida taxpayers. But could there be something else behind the high-profile announcement he made two days after President Barack Obama released his budget? Multiple sources have offered up this theory: Scott was irritated Obama's budget didn't include money for dredging the Jacksonville and Miami ports or a container transfer facility at Port Everglades. Scott has repeatedly said he talked to U.S. transportation secretary Ray LaHood about the importance of Florida's ports. And in remarks both yesterday and today, he mentioned the need to improve those facilities to take advantage of trade opportunities when the Panama Canal is expanded, when the free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama are ratified, and as the economies of Central and South America expand.

From his news conference yesterday: "By capturing a larger share of containerized imports entering our seaports, expanding export markets for Florida businesses and emerging as a global hub for trade and investment we can create up to an additional 143,000 jobs according to a recent chamber of commerce study."

[Last modified: Thursday, February 17, 2011 4:58pm]


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