Not much is known about exactly what message President Barack Obama will be bringing to Jacksonville Thursday, but there is a lot of hope about what it could be.
Obama is speaking at JAXPORT. While the White House says the speech will focus on returning the focus of the economy to the middle class, port leaders say the best way to fulfill that goal is on the docks.
“I believe that he [Obama] sees in JAXPORT an economic engine that has a lot of opportunity to grow,” says JAXPORT Board of Directors Chair Joe York.
York tells WOKV the ports play a key role in the middle class economy through direct employment and supporting a range of businesses from port activity.
“Create jobs within our community and the surrounding area that really can bolster economic development in Northeast Florida,” he says.
One of the biggest port projects on hold right now is Mile Point. This is an area on the river that has dangerous cross currents which prevent some of the largest ships from using the port. The Governor recently allocated the funding needed to finish the project, but the work can’t begin until it gets Congressional approval, which hasn’t made much progress in the House.
“Once the project’s complete, we’re gunna see expanded growth at JAXPORT which ultimately will be good for the community and the surrounding area,” York says.