Rail Lines Keep Economy Rolling
Infrastructure is my business at the Florida Chamber of Commerce. It is one of the Florida Chamber’s six pillars for the state’s economic future, and I see each day how a robust transportation system can attract businesses, advance growth and create jobs.
Among this important network of trucks, barges, trains and planes, Florida’s freight railroads distinguish themselves on infrastructure because they’re paying to maintain and enhance their lines with little help from taxpayers. Freight rail is injecting billions of private dollars — $25 billion annually for the past several years — into the nationwide network that hauls finished products to our ports, raw materials to our manufacturers and goods to our customers.
A new report from Towson University in Maryland quantified the impact from freight rail investments, finding that spending by the largest U.S. railroads created $274 billion in economic activity and generated nearly $33 billion in total tax revenues in 2014.
The cascading effect of these investments is hard to overstate. Enhanced rail operations in Florida, not to mention the rest of the country, mean that our ports can move more imports and exports and meet the increased demand of an expanded Panama Canal. Port Tampa Bay, for example, is continuing to invest in rail connectivity as part of a long-range development plan that aims to bulk up its presence in the container market.
Smart policies have allowed companies to make significant private investments in our state’s all-important transportation network. Florida needs to keep these good policies, and others like them, rolling.
Christopher Emmanuel, Tallahassee
The writer is director of infrastructure and governance policy with the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
Published in the Tampa Bay Times, July 12, 2016
Florida Ports Partner with Mexican Ports to Expand Global Opportunities
The Florida Chamber of Commerce today attended a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing between Florida Ports and Mexican Ports – an effort that will further strengthen Florida’s competitive edge in the global economy by expanding trade opportunities between Florida and Mexico.
The signing included representatives from: PortMiami, Port Everglades, Port Manatee, Port Panama City, Port Pensacola, Port Tampa Bay, Florida Ports Council, the Consul General of Mexico in Florida as well as Bill Johnson, President and CEO of Enterprise Florida, and Alan Becker, Vice Chair of Enterprise Florida.
The signing took place in Mexico City on the first day of the Florida Chamber’s multi-day economic development trade mission to Mexico. Taking place in coordination with Enterprise Florida, Team Florida also met today with the Governor of the state of Yucatan to discuss international trade partnership opportunities.
Mexico is currently the third largest trading partner for the United States and ranks 10th among Florida’s trading partners, with more than $1.6 billion exported to Mexico in 2015. As such, Mexico provides tremendous growth opportunities for Florida businesses.
Join us for a Global Florida: Trade Topics and Trends webinar on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. as we discuss trade and logistics in anticipation of the Panama Canal Expansion opening on June 26.