October 21, 2021
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At a recent press event, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) highlighted the start of work on three transportation projects that will improve the efficient, safe and reliable travel for residents, businesses and visitors to the Tampa Bay area.

[Above photo via the Florida Governor’s Office]

Those projects – enhancements to the Howard Frankland Bridge, modernizing the Westshore Interchange, and work on the I-275/I-4 Interchange – are part of a $2 billion investment in the state’s 2021-2022 budget to make key transportation improvements in Florida highways and seaports.

The Howard Frankland Bridge. Photo via Wikipedia Commons.

“The Tampa region is growing exponentially and it’s important that we support that growth with strong infrastructure,” the governor said in a statement “[These] three key projects for the Tampa Bay region … represent a historically significant investment in the region’s transportation network.”

“The project advancements announced today are critical to enhancing safety and connectivity within the Tampa region and across Florida’s overall transportation system,” said Kevin Thibault, secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation. “The Westshore and Downtown Tampa interchange projects will directly enhance mobility in the region. I am eager to get these projects completed much earlier than previously planned.”

In August, the Florida DOT began distributing $250 million to help ports statewide recover from revenue declines in 2020 – sparked in part by the COVID-19 pandemic – as well as fund infrastructure investments.

“Not only are Florida ports a key economic driver for their surrounding communities, but also for our state as a whole,” said Governor DeSantis in a separate statement at the time – noting that Florida’s ports generate an economic impact of $117.6 billion annually and support 900,000 jobs.

“The impact seaports have on every region in our state is enormous and … [our] state continues to make key investments in our transportation network to keep our state moving forward and ensure that goods make it to consumers efficiently,” Florida DOT’s Thibault.

“The funding announced today will have lasting positive impacts and significantly assist our seaport partners, as well as their surrounding communities,” he noted.

editor@aashto.org

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