Posted on March 22, 2021
Gov. Ron DeSantis is recommending that Florida’s seaports receive a large slice of the state’s COVID-19 federal relief funding.
Speaking to reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday, DeSantis said seaports have suffered huge losses amid the pandemic but noted that they have yet to receive federal help.
He encouraged lawmakers to allocate roughly $260 million in relief to Florida seaports.
“That is an amount equal to the losses they’ve accrued during the pandemic through February of 2021,” DeSantis said.
While increased vaccine availability may offer some optimism to seaports, the multi-million-dollar cruise industry is unlikely to sail for the foreseeable future.
DeSantis noted that cruise ships remain under a no-sail-order mandated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Notably, the CDC first issued the order more than a year ago on March 13.
“I wanted them to start sailing long ago,” DeSantis said. “I think they should be able to sail, and we want to see them sail but nevertheless, that’s taken an enormous amount of toll on our seaports.”
DeSantis’ recommendations come as states ready themselves for Washington’s latest COVID-19 federal relief package.
President Joe Biden on Thursday signed the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, which includes disbursements directly to states and local governments.
In all, DeSantis outlined $4.1 billion in recommendations for how the state should spend the incoming federal stimulus dollars.
While the exact amount of federal relief coming to Florida is unclear, he said he expects the state to receive about $9 to $10 billion in aid.
DeSantis said he will send those recommendations in a letter to House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson.
“I’ve spoken with both Senate President and the Speaker,” DeSantis said. “I know they have different ideas. But I think most of what I’ll outline today, there’ll be broad agreement between both chambers as well as my office.”