Port Manatee is in the Florida 16th Congressional District. Also, while Port Tampa Bay is not itself in the newly-redistricted CD16, many who depend on it for services and employment are residents.
(i) With regard to Port Manatee, as the nearest deepwater seaport to the expanded Panama Canal (newly-reopened on June 26, 2016), it has huge and growing potential for the area and the country. Port Manatee offers container, bulk, breakbulk, heavylift, project and general cargo customer services and generates more than $2.3 billion annually for the local economy, including providing 24,000 jobs. The Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 2016 included funding of $700,000 for a dredging feasibility study for Port Manatee (one of only 10 waterways in the continental United States identified for such assistance). In addition, the FY2016 Budget included $300,000 for maintenance and $100,000 for operation of Manatee Harbor. Port Manatee has a target harbor depth of 45 feet, and Manatee Harbor is currently at 40 feet. Should the project ultimately come to fruition, deepening the harbor offers the possibility of serving larger ships and generating greater revenue. Obviously, this would be a great boon for Port Manatee and the people of our district.
(ii) As regards Port Tampa Bay, it is the largest port in Florida. This port handles more than one-third of the cargo moving in and out of the state, in addition to large-scale cruise operations. In anticipation of the reopening of the expanded Panama Canal, Port Tampa Bay has in recent years benefitted from upgraded infrastructure for both rail and truck transport to and from its facilities. Such projects have been supported in part by the federal government, including a $105 million in federal stimulus funds towards a new dedicated truck ramp to Interstate-4. Port Tampa Bay has also been upgrading its cyber security measures, thanks to $1.6 million from the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP) of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).