FDOT emphasizes SIS designation to Port Authority

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 02:23 PM.

The dollars are the key. Seventy-five percent of discretionary funds appropriated each year by the Florida Legislature to the FDOT are earmarked for projects within the SIS system.

That is the pool of funding that will be critical as the port, the last of Florida’s 14 deepwater ports to see significant development, moves ahead with development of what is effectively a blank slate.

“There is a gem out there,” Barfield said. “It is just not being utilized.”

The Port of Port St. Joe was designated an “emerging” SIS component in 2009 based on potential projects that seemed poised to arrive. However, as the economy went south so too did the ability to secure adequate funding for those projects and they went away, port director Tommy Pitts said.

“We continue to be optimistic,” Pitts said port prospects. “The new relationship with St. Joe that provides long-desired access to the deepwater port as well as other efforts has us optimistic.”

The SIS designation had a four-year window which expires in March 2013. The “emerging” SIS designation is being phased out, FDOT staff indicated, but they would press for an application to extend the SIS designation for the Port of Port St. Joe by two to three years, with two years being the most likely.

“I think we can get there in three years,” said board chairman Leonard Costin, alluding to the tonnage and cargo requirements to be part of the SIS system. “I think we will be a shining light for the economy in the region.”



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