Expand Port Everglades to generate more jobs

When school groups come to tour Port Everglades, we always start by asking the children: "Who here ate a banana for breakfast?" And, "Who is wearing sneakers?" They are always startled to find out that their breakfast bananas and sneakers arrive by ship to Port Everglades before landing on the shelves at Publix or Wal-Mart. For adult tours, we replace sneakers with flat-screen televisions and laptop computers, and get the same startled responses.

Goods such as bananas, sneakers and electronics only tell one side of the economic impact story about Port Everglades — the story that everyone can relate to as consumers. The other side of the story is about the jobs that are created and supported by Port Everglades, and the resulting personal income, tax dollars and economic activity that these jobs generate. In fact, exported goods from Port Everglades last year totaled $11.1 billion, which the U.S. Department of Commerce equates to supporting 55,000 U.S. jobs.

This past March, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners adopted a 20-year Master/Vision Plan for Port Everglades that is actually an update of the original plan approved in 2007. The new plan is a roadmap for capital improvements at the port. It is updated regularly to take into account how trends and changes in the marketplace, and in our lifestyles, create demands on existing facilities that in turn necessitate physical changes at the port, such as longer docks and deeper channels. These infrastructure improvements are critical to keeping Port Everglades vibrant and competitive.

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