(1) The Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council is created within the Department of Transportation. The council consists of the following 17 members: the port director, or the port director’s designee, of each of the ports of Jacksonville, Port Canaveral, Port Citrus, Fort Pierce, Palm Beach, Port Everglades, Miami, Port Manatee, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Port St. Joe, Panama City, Pensacola, Key West, and Fernandina; the secretary of the Department of Transportation or his or her designee; and the director of the Department of Economic Opportunity or his or her designee.
(2) The council shall adopt bylaws governing the manner in which the business of the council will be conducted. The bylaws shall specify the procedure by which the chairperson of the council is elected.
(3) The council shall prepare a 5-year Florida Seaport Mission Plan defining the goals and objectives of the council concerning the development of port facilities and an intermodal transportation system consistent with the goals of the Florida Transportation Plan developed pursuant to s. 339.155. The Florida Seaport Mission Plan shall include specific recommendations for the construction of transportation facilities connecting any port to another transportation mode and for the efficient, cost-effective development of transportation facilities or port facilities for the purpose of enhancing trade, promoting cargo flow, increasing cruise passenger movements, increasing port revenues, and providing economic benefits to the state. The council shall develop a priority list of projects based on these recommendations annually and submit the list to the Department of Transportation. The council shall update the 5-year Florida Seaport Mission Plan annually and shall submit the plan no later than February 1 of each year to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Department of Economic Opportunity, and the Department of Transportation. The council shall develop programs, based on an examination of existing programs in Florida and other states, for the training of minorities and secondary school students in job skills associated with employment opportunities in the maritime industry, and report on progress and recommendations for further action to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives annually. (4) The council shall adopt rules for evaluating projects which may be funded under ss. 311.07 and 320.20. The rules shall provide criteria for evaluating the potential project, including, but not limited to, such factors as consistency with appropriate plans, economic benefit, readiness for construction, noncompetition with other Florida ports, and capacity within the seaport system.
(5) The council shall review and approve or disapprove each project eligible to be funded pursuant to the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Program. The council shall annually submit to the Secretary of Transportation and the executive director of the Department of Economic Opportunity, or his or her designee, a list of projects which have been approved by the council. The list shall specify the recommended funding level for each project; and, if staged implementation of the project is appropriate, the funding requirements for each stage shall be specified.
(6) The Department of Transportation shall review the list of project applications approved by the council for consistency with the Florida Transportation Plan, the Statewide Seaport and Waterways System Plan, and the department’s adopted work program. In evaluating the consistency of a project, the department shall assess the transportation impacts and economic benefits for each project. The Department of Transportation shall identify those projects that are inconsistent with the Florida Transportation Plan, the Statewide Seaport and Waterways System Plan, or the adopted work program and shall notify the council of projects found to be inconsistent.
(7) The Department of Economic Opportunity shall review the list of project applications approved by the council to evaluate the economic benefit of the project and to determine whether the project is consistent with the Florida Seaport Mission Plan and with state economic development goals and policies. The Department of Economic Opportunity shall review the proposed project’s consistency with state, regional, and local plans, as appropriate, and the economic benefits of each project based upon the rules adopted pursuant to subsection (4). The Department of Economic Opportunity shall identify those projects that it has determined do not offer an economic benefit to the state, are not consistent with an appropriate plan, or are not consistent with the Florida Seaport Mission Plan or state economic development goals and policies and shall notify the council of its findings.
(8) The council shall review the findings of the Department of Economic Opportunity and the Department of Transportation. Projects found to be inconsistent pursuant to subsection (6) or subsection (7) or projects that have been determined not to offer an economic benefit to the state pursuant to subsection (7) may not be included in the list of projects to be funded.
(9) The Department of Transportation shall include at least $25 million per year in its annual legislative budget request for the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Program funded under s. 311.07. Such budget must include funding for projects approved by the council which have been determined by each agency to be consistent. The department shall include the specific approved Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Program projects to be funded under s. 311.07 during the ensuing fiscal year in the tentative work program developed pursuant to s. 339.135(4). The total amount of funding to be allocated to Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Program projects under s. 311.07 during the successive 4 fiscal years shall also be included in the tentative work program developed pursuant to s. 339.135(4). The council may submit to the department a list of approved projects that could be made production-ready within the next 2 years. The list shall be submitted by the department as part of the needs and project list prepared pursuant to s. 339.135(2)(b). However, the department shall, upon written request of the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council, submit work program amendments pursuant to s. 339.135(7) to the Governor within 10 days after the later of the date the request is received by the department or the effective date of the amendment, termination, or closure of the applicable funding agreement between the department and the affected seaport, as required to release the funds from the existing commitment. Notwithstanding s. 339.135(7)(c), any work program amendment to transfer prior year funds from one approved seaport project to another seaport project is subject to the procedures in s. 339.135(7)(d). Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the department may transfer unexpended budget between the seaport projects as identified in the approved work program amendments.
(10) The council shall meet at the call of its chairperson, at the request of a majority of its membership, or at such times as may be prescribed in its bylaws. However, the council must meet at least semiannually. A majority of voting members of the council constitutes a quorum for the purpose of transacting the business of the council. All members of the council are voting members. A vote of the majority of the voting members present is sufficient for any action of the council, except that a member representing the Department of Transportation or the Department of Economic Opportunity may vote to overrule any action of the council approving a project pursuant to subsection (5). The bylaws of the council may require a greater vote for a particular action.
(11) Members of the council shall serve without compensation but are entitled to receive reimbursement for per diem and travel expenses as provided in s. 112.061. The council may elect to provide an administrative staff to provide services to the council on matters relating to the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Program and the council. The cost for such administrative services shall be paid by all ports that receive funding from the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Program, based upon a pro rata formula measured by each recipient’s share of the funds as compared to the total funds disbursed to all recipients during the year. The share of costs for administrative services shall be paid in its total amount by the recipient port upon execution by the port and the Department of Transportation of a joint participation agreement for each council-approved project, and such payment is in addition to the matching funds required to be paid by the recipient port. Except as otherwise exempted by law, all moneys derived from the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Program shall be expended in accordance with the provisions of s. 287.057. Seaports subject to competitive negotiation requirements of a local governing body shall abide by the provisions of s. 287.055.
(12) Until July 1, 2014, Citrus County may apply for a grant through the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council to perform a feasibility study regarding the establishment of a port in Citrus County. The council shall evaluate such application pursuant to subsections (5)-(8) and, if approved, the Department of Transportation shall include the feasibility study in its budget request pursuant to subsection (9). If the study determines that a port in Citrus County is not feasible, the membership of Port Citrus on the council shall terminate.