Governor Rick Scott Signs Seaport Competitive Edge Bill

MAY 24, 2011

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Governor Scott Signs Bill to
Give Florida Seaports Competitive Edge

HB 283 Removes Burdensome Regulation,
Saves Businesses $3 Million

Tampa, Fla. – In keeping his promise to reduce burdensome, job-killing regulation, today Governor Rick Scott signed legislation during a visit to the Port of Tampa that enables Florida ’s 14 deepwater ports to better compete with other ports in the Southeast United States . House Bill 283, sponsored by Representative Dana Young and Senator Jack Latvala, removes redundant state requirements established in 2000, prior to the current federal requirements adopted in the aftermath of 9/11.

“As the best place for international companies to import and export their products, Florida ’s 14 deepwater ports will now be able to compete with any port in the Southeast or on the entire Eastern seaboard,” Governor Scott said. “In Florida , we are taking a common-sense approach to reducing burdensome and expensive regulation so that businesses can grow and expand and create the jobs Floridians need.”

The Florida Ports Council estimates maritime businesses will realize approximately $3 million annually in direct savings by not having to undergo an additional and duplicative criminal history check at Florida seaports. To provide for the safety of Florida seaports, truck drivers, seaport workers and companies must prove a business purpose for port access and present federal credentials to prove they have been screened.

Current federal law requires any person seeking unescorted access to any seaport facility in the country to obtain a federal transportation worker identification credential (TWIC card), which includes a background screening and a threat assessment. Florida was one of only a few states requiring both a federal and a state background check.

Florida’s Seaports Mean Big Business

· Florida ports mean big business and high paying jobs for Florida , according to the Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Ports Council:

o Waterborne international trade moving through Florida ’s seaports was valued at $69.7 billion in 2010, representing 55.2 percent of Florida ’s $126.2 billion total international trade. Waterborne international trade increased 22.6 percent in 2010, up from $56.9 billion in 2009.

o Florida ranked fourth among the nation’s top exporting states in 2010.

o The average annual wage of seaport-related jobs is $54,400, double the average annual wage for all other non-advanced degree occupations ($26,933) and $15,000 more than the average annual wage for all occupations ($38,470).

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