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Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Cabinet members on Tuesday approved $150 million in bond proceeds through the Seaport Investment Program to help fund port infrastructure projects in the state.The Florida Department of Transportation has identified 16 projects to be funded with the bond proceeds for fiscal-year 2014.The port investments "will strengthen Florida's role as a hub for global commerce … and continue to position Florida as a leader in global trade and commerce," said Scott in a press release.Among the recipients:• Port Everglades, which will receive $34.5 million to lengthen the Southport turning notch from 900 feet to 2,400 feet to provide room for five additional berths;• PortMiami, which will garner $25 million for the final phase of a deep-dredge project, including the deepening of an entrance channel to 52 feet, and deepening and widening a channel, turning basins and berths to 50 feet;• the Port of Jacksonville (JAXPORT), which will obtain $14.8 million for Blount Island Terminal improvements, including the phased development and redevelopment of container, break-bulk, automobile and bulk terminal facilities, as well as wharf rehabilitation and paving work, rail improvements and drainage upgrades;• Port Manatee, which will gain $6.4 million to rehabilitate and reconstruct portions of six berths to double load capacity; and• Port Panama City, which will receive $2.2 million to expand a container terminal, such as by adding additional support plugs for refrigerated containers and container-handling equipment, and installing a second mobile harbor crane capable of handling Panamax vessels. "This investment clearly sends the message once again: Florida's leaders understand the value of building port infrastructure today, and the returns that will come in the form of jobs and economic opportunity," said JAXPORT Chief Executive Officer Brian Taylor in a prepared statement.
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