UPDATE: Scott ‘welcomes’ Obama to Miami by blasting feds for skipping out on ports fundingby Dara Kam | March 28th, 2013
UPDATE: President Obama reacted to Gov. Rick Scott’s demands that the federal government reimburse Florida more than $100 million for two port projects.
“The President believes that the Port of Miami can enhance the competitiveness of workers and businesses throughout the region and in the nation as a whole. That’s why the Administration has taken a number of steps to fund and facilitate improvements at the Port, including a $340 million TIFIA loan to help finance the Port of Miami tunnel project and a $23 million TIGER grant to restore freight rail service between the Port and the Florida East Coast Railway, as well as completing the permitting for the Port’s dredging project on an expedited timeline last August as part of the Administration’s push to cut red tape around infrastructure construction,” White House spokeswoman Joanna Rosholm said in an e-mail.
Gov. Rick Scott used President Obama’s visit Friday to the Port of Miami to tout his own jobs record and demand that president “step up to the plate” and pledge to reimburse the feds’ share of ports funding.
“We’re certainly glad President Obama’s coming to the Port of Miami tomorrow but he’s late to the party on Florida port investments,” Scott said in a conference call with reporters this morning.
Florida’s spent $425 million on ports since Scott took office, including fronting the federal share of $75 million for the Port of Miami and $36 million for the Port of Jacksonville, according to Scott.
“We could not wait for the federal government to come to the table with their share of the project,” Scott, who is running for reelection, said.
Obama is visiting the Miami port and will speak about the economy, according to a White House press release.
Sounding like someone on the campaign trail, Scott repeated his recent mantra of comparing Florida’s current economic and jobs state of affairs compared to “the four years before I became governor” without naming his predecessor Charlie Crist. Crist, who switched parties and is now a Democrat, is mulling another run for governor next year.
And he took a swipe at Obama and Congress while saying he “welcomed” the president.
“The federal government, they keep raising regulations. Permitting time takes longer, raising taxes, spending all these things. We’ve done way better than they have,” Scott said. Obama expedited federal infrastructure reviews last year for both the Miami and Jacksonville ports. Right now, they ought to reimburse us the money we’re spending on our ports…so we can create more jobs.”