Newsletter January 2019

From The Captain's Chair

From The Captain's Chair


November’s elections resulted in a new administrationfor the state of Florida, as well as a new crop of electedofficials representing us in Tallahassee and Washington,D.C., all of whom will need to be educated on the strength ofthe marine industry and its economic impact here in SouthFlorida. Having the new numbers available from our latesteconomic impact study by Thomas J. Murray and Associateswill certainly help demonstrate the upward trend of the sizeand scope of our industry in a very timely way.

Although the 2019 Florida Legislative Session officiallybegins in March, committee hearings and public testimonyare currently underway, and we will be advocating forseveral items that impact the marine industry.

• The reduction of the refit and repair sales tax cap. In 2016, we spearheaded the legislation that cappedthe sales tax on vessel refit and repair at $1 million,consequently spurring other states to quickly cap theirsales tax at $500,000. This year we will pursue thepassage of a subsequent bill to reduce the sales tax capon vessel refit and repair to $500,000 so that we canremain competitive with our neighboring states that areinterested in challenging South Florida’s reputation atthe refit and repair capital.

• Appropriation request to fund a comprehensivetransportation study. For the past several years, MIASFhas been working closely with the U.S. Coast Guardand All Aboard Florida to ensure the introduction ofhigh-speed passenger rail does not negatively impactthe continued navigability of the New River. While wesuccessfully negotiated a full-time bridge tender andlimits on the rail bridge openings to a maximum of60 minutes within 120 minutes, increased passengerrail service from Brightline (soon to be Virgin), plusthe potential launch of Tri-Rail Coastal Link, requirea comprehensive study by the Florida Departmentof Transportation on the feasibility of building a 45’bascule bridge over the New River and continuing itacross Broward Boulevard to the Brightline Station.Previous studies have concluded that a 45’ basculebridge would eliminate the need for 85% of bridgeopenings.

• Transportation funding flexibility. We will be supportingthe Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization’sdesire to have flexibility with State and federaltransportation funding to allow for road building dollarsto be used for other infrastructure needs, like the bridgeover the New River.

• Marine Research Hub funding. Now in its third year, TheMarine Research Hub is making tremendous headwayin promoting the collaboration and commercializationof university research in South Florida. With itsrecent 501(c)3 designation and Board of Directorsappointments, the Marine Research Hub is ready togo to the next level. The Marine Research Hub willbe submitting an appropriation request to the Statefor funding to hire a full-time director to oversee itsoperation and work toward attaining the desirable BlueTech Cluster status for the region.

We will be sure to provide the House and Senate sponsorsand bill numbers as they are assigned so that you can trackthe progress throughout Session.

Phil Purcell
CEO/President, Marine Industries Association of South Florida