Wilson Sends Letter Urging House Leaders to Include Relief for Florida’s Public Seaports in Federal Stimulus Package
MIAMI – Today, Congresswoman Wilson sent a letter to House leadership and the chairs and ranking members of the Appropriations and Transportation and Infrastructure committees urging them to include relief for Florida’s public seaports in the third phase of the coronavirus response package.
Florida seaports are a major engine of economic activity for the state and the largest hub of cruise activity in the United States. It supports more than 150,000 jobs and generates nearly $8 billion in wages and salaries.
The coronavirus pandemic is projected to cause Florida ports to lose at least $198 million in service fees and other cruise- and port-related revenue during the next six months, which would have a ripple effect throughout the state’s economy and impact hundreds of workers who support cruise and other vessels.
On Thursday, March 19, Congresswoman Wilson, who chairs the Florida Ports Caucus, led a conference call with industry stakeholders and a bipartisan group of members of the Florida delegation to discuss the public health crisis and strategies to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on port-related economic activity and prevent widespread layoffs.
“Florida ports create jobs, jobs, jobs, which is why our delegation must fight as hard for our state’s ports and port workers as our colleagues from Michigan did for the auto industry,” said Congresswoman Wilson.
During Thursday’s call, Florida members heard from:
Doug Wheeler, president and CEO, Florida Ports Council; Mike Rubin, vice president of governmental affairs, Florida Ports Council; Casey Erin Grigsby, vice president of programs and planning, Florida Ports Council; Jessie Werner, vice president of public affairs, Florida Ports Council; Juan Kuryla, port director & CEO, PortMiami; Eric Green, CEO, JAXPORT; Captain John W. Murray, port director and CEO, Port Canaveral; Glenn Wiltshire, Acting CEO and port director, Port Everglades; Doug Bradshaw, port and marina services director, Port of Key West; David Wirth, marina and port manager, Port of St. Pete; Paul Anderson, president and CEO, Port of Tampa; Carlos Buqueras, executive director, Port Manatee; Wayne Stubbs, executive director, Port Panama City; Amy Miller, director, Port of Pensacola; and Bruce Brecheisen, executive VP, Seaboard Marine.
The bipartisan letter specifically requests that the next stimulus package passed in the House include at least $1 billion to mitigate the impact of the loss of cruise ship revenues, a portion of which should be used to compensate port employees impacted by the disruption.
The letter was signed by Representatives Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Ross Spano (FL-15), Neal Dunn (FL-2), and Bill Posey (FL-8).
To read the letter, click here.