By Justin Sink
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) dismissed President Obama as "late to the party" ahead of an event Friday at the Port of Miami intended to build support for the president's plan to secure more infrastructure funding.
The governor, a Republican, said that Florida's $425 million investment in ports during his tenure was an example of states needing to act because the federal government was slow in distributing pledged funding. Florida fronted $75 million in federal guarantees for the Port of Miami and $36 million for the Port of Jacksonville.
"We could not wait for the federal government to come to the table with their share of the project,” Scott said, adding that Obama should "step up to the plate" and reimburse the amounts.
The governor added that Florida had "done way better" than the federal government in funding infrastructure.
"The federal government, they keep raising regulations. Permitting time takes longer, raising taxes, spending all these things," Scott said.
At a briefing with reporters Thursday afternoon, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the event would be "a good opportunity for the president to illustrate the value, both in the short term and the long term, of the important infrastructure investments that the president has talked about for quite some time."
"The Port of Miami is a major center of commerce and an example of the critical infrastructure improvements that are being undertaken to remain competitive in the global marketplace using the types of combined investment from the federal government, state government and local government, and private investors that the president has called for," Earnest said.
In a statement to the Miami Herald, White House spokeswoman Joanna Rosholm responded to Scott's critique by pointing to some $363 million in federal dollars granted or loaned to Florida for port infrastructure during the Obama administration.
"The President believes that the Port of Miami can enhance the competitiveness of workers and businesses throughout the region and in the nation as a whole," Rosholm said.