South Florida ports seek update on ID card requirements

Mar. 2--South Florida's ports and the Florida Ports Council are all keeping an eye on key legislative issues this session, including funding for infrastructure and language that would rescind the requirement for a separate state security identification card.

Port of Miami Director Bill Johnson, selected to chair legislative issues on behalf of the Florida's 14 ports, said a key issue is "the ability to nail down or secure state dollars for infrastructure."

The ports want legislation that would increase Florida's statutory minimum investment in seaports from $8 million to $15 million, which has actually been appropriated by the legislature since 2004, according to an e-mail from Florida Ports Council Executive Vice President Nancy J. Leikauf.

Johnson said the state's major ports are also trying to secure $25 million in grants that would provide dedicated funding to help pay for certain infrastructure projects such as drainage.

Also on the agenda is to have language repealed that would require Florida port workers to have a separate state ID card, when they already must carry a federal ID.

The Florida Ports Council wants to replace the state criminal history background credentialing system with the federal Transportation Workers Identification Credential that includes a criminal history background and a terrorism, immigration and mental health check, according to information from Leikauf.

"We are adamantly opposed to this Florida security credential," Johnson said.

In addition, Broward's Port Everglades is looking for money to build a facility to store and transport crushed rock and other bulk products used in the cement and ready-mix concrete industry, port spokeswoman Ellen Kennedy wrote in an e-mail. The port also wants $21.9 million authorized to construct a bypass road.