Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Port of Miami project not part of President Barack Obama's budget

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's budget plan Monday was a mix of good and bad news for South Florida.

The bad news: an aggressive effort to secure federal funding to dredge the port of Miami suffered a significant setback when Obama declined to put aside money for it. Local officials and the state's South Florida congressional delegation had hoped to secure $75 million in the president's 2012 budget proposal to dredge the port to 50 feet to accommodate bigger cargo ships. But the administration said the project didn't land high enough on its priority list, said Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami.

Advocates for the Everglades hailed the good news that the Obama administration was committed to restoration efforts. Everglades Foundation chief executive officer Kirk Fordham hailed the budget plan, saying the administration "understands that Everglades restoration is a priority to sustain the water supply, create jobs and provide myriad economic benefits.

"This funding, along with money targeted to the Department of Interior budget, will ensure that construction projects already underway continue and do not result in layoffs or project delays," Fordham said.

Port director Bill Johnson — who had lobbied the White House for months, saying the project could bring 33,000 jobs to South Florida — said he was "obviously disappointed, but undeterred." He said he didn't think that any East Coast ports that had sought construction dollars for dredging had received them.

"No one would expect us to give up and we won't," he said. The port needs the money to deepen the port by 2014, when large vessels begin using the Panama Canal.

Wilson, who championed the project, said she has asked the administration to identify alternative sources for the cash.

"We can't afford to give up, there's too many jobs at stake, even if we have to have a huge fundraiser," Wilson said. "We have to find the money."

Administration officials in phone calls with reporters defended the spending decisions. White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe said Obama had cut programs he cares about, but "is deadly serious about getting this country on a sustainable fiscal path."

Johnson says he'll go back to Congress to plead the port's case, but that may prove an uphill battle: Lawmakers are spurning earmarks and the GOP-led House on Tuesday will begin looking at cutting $58 billion in spending for the rest of this year. Those cuts include programs that help the poor with housing, job training, community health centers and legal services.

And Republicans pledged Monday to go deeper than Obama in spending cuts, labeling his budget proposal too timid.

Port of Miami project not part of President Barack Obama's budget 02/14/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 14, 2011 7:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Late night update: Second wave follows Tropical Storm Harvey


    UPDATE: At 11 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  3. Stealth anti-Jack Latvala group tied to Adam Putnam campaign


    Politico reports:

     A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a “liberal.”

  4. Council gives in to pension dispute with St. Pete firefighters

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council was forced to consider its first labor dispute in years Thursday when it gave the firefighters union most of the pension enhancements it has long asked for.

    The firefighters’ union won a pension victory at Thursday’s City Council meeting. [SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  5. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half



    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.