Governor Rick Scott today broke ground on the nations only combined on-port international and domestic cargo rail facility at Port Everglades. The Governor also committed $13 million to begin work on the Southport Turning Notch Extension project which will add more dock space for Port Everglades. The new Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) at the Port will lead the way for Florida to attract new international business to the state through its seaports and support the creation of an estimated 135,000 jobs for Florida families. Todays announcement comes on the heels of the Governors commitment earlier this week for $36 million of state funding for JAXPORT.
Governor Scott said, Todays announcement is another example of Floridas commitment to our world class port system being a driver of our economy. This $13 million investment in our port system is one of the reasons why Floridas economy continues to move in the right direction and creates more jobs and opportunities for Florida families.
Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) Chief Executive Officer Jim Hertwig said, The new ICTF will allow the FEC to efficiently and effectively deliver superior transportation service between South Florida and the Southeastern United States. Upon completion, this new facility enables South Florida to be in a competitive position for additional freight and jobs. This facility will be able to handle the additional cargo of larger ships that are coming out of Europe today and when the Panama Canal expansion is complete and beyond.
Port Everglades Chief Executive & Port Director Steven Cernak said, An ICTF on Port Everglades property will not only ensure our seaport remains competitive with other U.S. East Coast gateways, but will give our port a cost and time-to-market advantage over many of these gateways, thereby putting more and more South Florida residents to work as a result of the additional business opportunities it will generate. This unique publicprivate partnership is consistent with Governor Scotts efforts to expand support to Floridas ports, leveraging private sector capital to complete the project.
Senator Eleanor Sobel said, Todays announcement is a great step forward for Port Everglades and Broward County. The increased productivity that will be achieved at Port Everglades will create jobs and help our community compete for increased trade.
Representative Joseph Gibbons said, Investment in Port Everglades is great news for our community and for Florida. I applaud Governor Scott and everyone who has made job creation through port investment a priority.
Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Secretary Ananth Prasad said, I applaud Governor Scott for his leadership and continued investment in Floridas seaports. By leveraging public/private partnerships such as these, all Florida ports will be able to grow, meet market demands and provide good jobs for Floridians.
Doug Wheeler, president of the Florida Ports Council said, Port Everglades being a leading cargo port means that they must prepare for the increasing size of cargo ships and the increasing volume of freight coming through the port. Both the Southport Turning Notch Expansion and the new ICTF will help Port Everglades continue to capitalize on global trade opportunities.
Florida East Coast Railways new 42.5-acre near-dock ICTF will facilitate containerized cargo transfer through the Port to/from the FEC main line by mid-2014. The facility will be unique compared to similar facilities at other ports in that both domestic and international cargo will be handled at the site, which will result in the advantageous transfer for Port Everglades customers and local companies.
FEC signed a long-term agreement with Broward County in March 2012 to build, operate and maintain the ICTF. Construction costs are estimated to be $53 million, which is funded by an $18 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and $35 million from FEC (including a $30 million State Infrastructure Bank loan from FDOT). Broward County contributed 42.5 acres of Port Everglades property, valued at $20 million, for the ICTF.
FDOT is also constructing a $40 million overpass to elevate I-595/Eller Drive to allow the trains to access the Port at ground level for the ICTF. Construction on the overpass began in July 2011 and will be completed in 2014. The project will elevate traffic over the rail tracks, allowing for a better traffic flow and increased port activity.