Port Manatee officials vote to oppose possible consolidation with Tampa port

skennedy@bradenton.comNovember 21, 2013 

PORT MANATEE -- The Manatee County Port Authority on Thursday unanimously approved a resolution directing its staff to oppose what could be plans for an unwanted consolidation with its bigger neighbor, Port of Tampa.

The resolution directed the port staff to oppose any consolidation effort, and allow Port Manatee to continue to develop into a premier deepwater port.

"We’re hearing our friends north of us are making calls to the governor's office," said Port Authority Chair Carol Whitmore, referring to those representing the Port of Tampa.

"I think Port Manatee needs to take a stand, and let everybody know we’re in the business, and we’re going to take a stand.”

Manatee County commissioners, who also sit as the port authority board, have been meeting recently with visitors from the Florida Department of Transportation, who sought to discuss consolidation.

The visitors got a chilly reception, authority members said. Local officials saidthey have not asked for any discussion about the subject.

“We’re not willing to merge with anyone,” said Manatee Commissioner Betsy Benac.

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