MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he is optimistic the county is improving as it battles back from the Great Recession.

Mayor Gimenez gave his annual State of the County speech Thursday and said in 20122, Miami-Dade County grew 44,000 jobs in 2012. Gimenez said the cranes, i.e. construction, have returned to downtown Miami and taxes were reduced for the second straight year.

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Gimenez said the county will also be taking the fight to Citizens Insurance as the state-backed carrier plans potential increases. According to the mayor, 29 percent of Citizens’ customers are in Miami-Dade and the county will form an advisory board to fight potential increases.

Port Miami had a solid year according to Mayor Gimenez. The seaport received $2 billion in investment and he highlighted an FEC Railway Link and the deep dredge project to allow larger ships to come to Port Miami.

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Speaking of tourism, Mayor Gimenez said almost 14 million overnight visitors came to the county in 2012 and spent a record $22 billion last year. As part of the visitors, Miami International Airport had 60 million passengers and processed $60 billion in cargo.

Click video below to watch entire State Of The County Address

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Gimenez said upgrades to the transportation in Miami-Dade County will be a priority moving forward. The mayor said he would be reaching out to state, federal, and private officials to help build the future in the county.