Obama to visit Miami port Friday

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Republicans leaders in Florida have criticized the Obama administration for not providing funding for deepening the state's Miami and Jacksonville port's sooner.

“We are certainly glad President Obama is coming to the PortMiami tomorrow, but he is late to the party on Florida port investment," Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) said in a statement released by his office Thursday.  

"In the last three years, state taxpayers have invested $425 million in our ports to take advantage of the benefits of trade with Central and South America, and to prepare our state for the expansion of the Panama Canal and the potential for increased trade with Asia," Scott continued. "State taxpayers have stepped up time and time again to fund the federal share of projects in Miami and Jacksonville to support thousands of jobs. We want the president to step up to the plate in Miami tomorrow and reimburse our state millions of dollars that we can reinvest in our ports and support even more job creation."

Scott called for Obama to announce the federal government was providing $75 million to the port of Miami.

"When President Obama comes to the PortMiami tomorrow, we would like him to commit the federal government’s reimbursement of $75 million for this project," he said. "That reimbursement for state costs could then be reinvested in the State Transportation Fund and used for additional state port investments."

The White House said Thursday that Obama would use the trip to Miami to talk about the "need to make smart, targeted investments to create jobs and boost our economy. 
 
"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," White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said during a briefing Thursday.

"This is 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," Earnest continued.

Asked if Obama would make new proposals for providing funding for ports like the Miami facility, Earnest said "stay tuned.

"I think that we've got a couple of tricks up our sleeve for tomorrow," he said.