Rep. Allen West, Corps of Engineers, community leaders discuss solutions to port problems


(WEST PALM BEACH) — In the second series of roundtable discussions with the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Congressman Allen West (R-FL) invited officials from Port Everglades, the Port of Palm Beach, elected officials, and staff from coastal communities stretching from Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie Counties to discuss the future of South Florida ports.  Representatives from the Rybovich Superyacht Service Center in Riviera Beach were also in attendance.  The discussion centered around dredging and maintenance of Port facilities, beach re-nourishment and the cumbersome federal permitting processes that municipalities and private businesses are facing. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection also attended the meeting.

“I am grateful for the participation we had today from the Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA Marine Fisheries, and the Florida DEP,” West said. “It is important that we keep an open dialogue between these three agencies and our coastal communities.”

Carlos Vidueira, Vice President of Rybovich, attended the meeting to encourage the Corps to allow dredging near the Port of Palm Beach so he can proceed with building a new Rybovich facility, which is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the Riviera Beach community.

“We have made a lot of progress and I am optimistic that something positive will come out of this discussion,” Vidueira said.  “I appreciate Congressman West making this meeting possible.”

Martin County Commissioner Doug Smith attended the meeting with hopes of learning more about how the Corps may fund the St. Lucie Inlet dredging project and other projects the county is pursuing in the future.

“I have a huge responsbility to taxpayers to keep the inlet open and safe,” Smith said. “Funding strategies have changed concerning the Corps of Engineers. There is a significant amount of work that needs to happen now because of these funding changes.  I believe this meeting has helped us understand what the county needs to do next.”

Among the actions that came out of the discussion, West committed to looking into legislative action to help South Florida’s Ports.

“I have asked my staff to look at legislative solutions to ensure government regulations do not continue to block economic growth around our ports,” West said.  “We must find a way to resolve the issues our ports are facing.  Hundreds of South Florida jobs depend on it.”

For a photo gallery of the meeting, click here



Rep Allen West Leads the Way with Army Corps of Engineers Port Projects

(WASHINGTON)— Congressman Allen West (R-FL) announces today the designation of $4.6 million to Port Everglades as part of the United States Corps of Engineers 2012 Work Plan for Operations and Maintenance dredging.  In addition, another $600,000 has been designated for a Port Everglades feasibility study.

“I am pleased to announce this project will finally be able to move forward and our hard work has paid off,” West said.  “The Port Everglades dredging project is directly tied to the number of ships that can get in and out of South Florida and has a direct impact on commerce and the entire economy of the region.”

The announcement comes on the heels of the Army Corps of Engineers Roundtable discussion hosted by Representative West at Lynn University in Boca Raton late last year.

“The Congressman’s willingness to host a roundtable to pull together all of the decision makers at the same table was vital to our success,” said Port Everglades Deputy Director Glenn Wiltshire. “Representative West facilitated the opportunity for people to ask and answer questions. I’m certain that was a factor in the Corps’ decision to fund the Port Everglades maintenance dredging project, which is greatly needed.”

Congressman West met with Commanders of the United States Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville Division in his Capitol Hill office Tuesday to thank them for the Port Everglades designation and discuss the future of South Florida’s other ports including the St. Lucie inlet and the Port of Palm Beach.  Topics of discussion included:

St. Lucie Inlet is currently 21-21.5 feet deep, and is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers. The County and the Harbor Advisory Board would like to see the port dredged to 25-28 feet deep to allow for bigger ships to utilize the port, thus increasing commerce and bringing much needed jobs to the area.

Port of Palm Beach:  Congressman West requested $460,000 in the Fiscal Year 2012 Work Plan for the Lake Worth Inlet Feasibility Study, which would help expand the capabilities at the Port. Congressman West learned this week the money has been approved for the Port of Palm Beach.

“The future of these ports is critically important to the coastal areas of Southeast Florida,” West said.  “I will continue to be a voice for our ports so that South Florida remains a priority for the Army Corps of Engineers.”

 *Attached please see Rep. West’s letter to the Corps of Engineers as well as photo.


U.S. Rep. Allen West, Commissioner LaMarca cheer free trade bill – Broward Politics

By Brittany Wallman – Broward Politics 

Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, far left, and Port Everglades Director Phil Allen, obscured by someone’s hair, were among the officials at the port Tuesday with U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation.

West was there to call on the president to sign the recently passed bill for free trade with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Just before the event, he was advised that President Obama intends to sign it Friday.

Port Everglades is one of the largest ports in America, and does more exporting — $11 billion last year — than any other port in Florida, port officials said.



Congressman Allen West Votes in Favor of Free Trade Agreements – Statement 10/12/11

  Congressman West Votes in Favor of Free Trade Agreements

(WASHINGTON)—Congressman Allen West (FL-22) released this statement tonight after supporting the Free Trade Agreements with Panama, South Korea and Columbia:

“Today, I voted in support of the Free Trade Agreements, which will eliminate tariffs on exports and imports with three of the United States’ most important countries with regards to trade; Panama, Columbia and South Korea. This agreement will eliminate the burden placed on American companies and allow them to compete in a free market, which will result in thousands of new American jobs, provide increased economic security and unleash a wave of investment and confidence among our small and medium-sized businesses.

In our Congressional District, Port Everglades leads Florida in export trade estimated at $11 billion a year and is tied to 55,000 jobs. The successful passage of the Free Trade Agreements will allow Port Everglades to further increase trade, adding jobs to South Florida in all industries.

I am encouraged with tonight’s bipartisan vote and applaud my fellow Members from both sides of the House of Representatives for passing an agreement that will create jobs for America.”


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