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Florida to spend $14.5B on transportation needs in new budget

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(The Center Square) — Gov. Ron DeSantis touted billions in funding for transportation relief and easing growing congestion on the roads in this year’s budget in a news conference on Thursday.

For this current year’s budget which goes into effect on July 1, $14.5 billion was appropriated for 946 different transportation projects across the state. This includes more than $5 billion to maintain and construct new highways, resulting in 140 new lane miles.

“We also have $1.8 billion to resurface roadways and to fill potholes, we’ve done almost $25 billion and resurfaced over 12,000 miles of roadway since I’ve been governor,” DeSantis said.

Bridge repairs and replacements were allocated $382 million, which will repair 72 bridges and replace another 15. The state will also spend $1.4 billion to support intermodal improvements, divided among transit and freight rail ($960.6 million), airports ($334.2 million), and seaports ($109.6 million).

“Our economy has grown 22%, the nation as a whole since 2019, has grown half that much – it’s 11%,” DeSantis said. “So, we’ve doubled the national average in economic growth over the last five and a half years.”

DeSantis said that managing Florida’s budget responsibly has been a priority. Despite major tax relief and increased spending for infrastructure and education, the state’s budget has been maintained at a reasonable level and even reduced since last year.

“You look at Florida, we’re number one for new business formations and have been for quite some time,” DeSantis said. “We’re the third largest state, so obviously we should have more business formations than a state like Rhode Island…but we have more business formations than California, which is twice the population of Florida.”

DeSantis said that private sector growth in Florida has grown by 2.2% over the past 12 months, while the national rate was 1.6%. The Sunshine State’s labor force also grew twice as fast as the nation, and the crime rate is at a 50-year low, according to DeSantis.

“That provides opportunities but also provides challenges,” DeSantis said. “The reality is, when you lead the nation in net-in migration year after year…that requires there to be the supporting infrastructure to be able to handle that.”

DeSantis said one of his administration’s main focuses has been accelerating infrastructure projects by using increased funding to complete them, sometimes 10 years ahead of schedule.

“Since I became governor in 2019, we’ve invested nearly $70 billion to improve transportation infrastructure in the state of Florida, and our main focus has been on reducing congestion,” DeSantis said. “We wanna have good roads…but we’re in a situation where there’s a lot of growth, so we have to accommodate for that.”

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