President Obama to visit Port Miami
MIAMI (WSVN) -- President Obama will visit Miami on Friday to talk about the economy and Florida's Governor Rick Scott wants the president to put his money where his mouth is.
Scott, who released his first 2014 campaign ad just days ago, with some harsh remarks for the Obama administration wants more than just words. Specifically, $75 million in federal money for the port. The state has invested nearly six times that amount in the last several years.
Scott said, "He's a little late to the party on port investment. As you note, the federal government has not funded their portion to our expansion at the Port of Miami or JAX Port in Jacksonville. In Port of Miami it's $75 million. Florida tax payers pay that money."
On the campaign trail last July, the president announced new initiatives for Port Miami.
The White House released the following statement to 7News: "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 grant to restore freight rail service between the port and the Florida East Coast railway."
Port Director Bill Johnson said no single party deserves criticism, but he plans to tell the president: "I'm asking the president to put a nominal amount, a little amount, maybe it's a hundred thousand dollars, in his current budget to be released in the next ten days," said Johnson.
Along with the presidential visit comes another Friday afternoon of heavy traffic in Downtown Miami. Local business owner Dimitrius Harvalas said, "We depend on a lot of local business, so it kinda frustrates the local people coming out. This traffic has been a double-edged sword for us."
The city has issued street closures to protect the commander-in-chief. Port Miami will be shut down from 12:30 p.m. until 2:45 p.m.
Cruise ship passengers have already been notified of travel changes. Early afternoon drivers in Downtown Miami will also notice near port street shut downs as President Obama cruises by.
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