Gov. Charlie Crist and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Secretary Stephanie C. Kopelousos Oct. 15 announced the acceleration of more than 179 projects, totaling $1.4 billion in road construction funding.
The projects include road resurfacing, lane additions, bridge rehabilitation and safety enhancements to the state’s transportation system. The projects will employ 39,000 people and generate $7.84 billion in economic benefits, a $5.60 return on each state dollar invested.
“I applaud the Florida Department of Transportation for accepting the challenge to move up the timeline for getting shovels in the dirt faster and reducing congestion on Florida’s roads,” Crist said. “The sooner projects are started, the sooner we can create jobs and pump dollars into Florida’s economy.”
In the two months since Crist launched “Accelerate Florida: Extending Florida’s Economic Horizons,” FDOT has advanced the construction start dates by one to five months, speeding up significant improvements to the state’s transportation system. These accelerated projects are in addition to projects totaling more than $250 million for which FDOT had already received bids prior to the governor’s instruction to accelerate projects. Crist has charged all state agencies with accelerating billions of dollars in approved construction and capital outlay projects through expedited approval and contracting.
“These accelerated transportation projects are putting people to work,” Kopelousos said. “Transportation is a good investment in Florida and yields strong economic benefits.”
To help speed up the starting dates of construction projects, FDOT has streamlined the process for obtaining a drainage/driveway permit by reducing the 90-day timeframe allowed by Florida law to between 15 and 30 days. FDOT accelerated projects include the following:
• Adding capacity to U.S. 301 in Sarasota by widening from four to six lanes.
• Providing congestion relief to S.R. 60 in Indian River County by widening from four to six lanes.
• Expanding the capacity of S.R. 50 in Lake and Orange counties from four to six lanes.
• Replacing the bridges on the state highway system, including the S.R. 39 bridge over Hillsborough River.
• Improving connectivity in Northwest Miami-Dade County by adding four lanes on NW 87th Avenue from NW 58th Street to NW 74th Street.
As part of the Accelerate Florida plan, the governor is gathering the input of business leaders and experts across the state through seven Accelerate Florida Think Tanks. Business leaders and experts are exploring how government can encourage innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit to flourish in Florida. The think tanks address areas including transportation; workforce; international trade and foreign investment; growth management and housing; small business, minority business and manufacturing; and rural economic development.