Money Eyed for Transportation Funding ‘Gap’

Money Eyed for Transportation Funding ‘Gap’

By Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — A $7 billion program to advance a series of transportation projects hit a funding gap as it enters its second year and will require more money than initially planned from the state’s general-revenue fund.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposed $114.4 billion budget for next fiscal year includes $632 million that would come from general revenue rather than through financing or loans for the Moving Florida Forward program.

Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue has also requested $513 million, expected to be generated through interest earnings on department investments, to “close out” the funding for the Moving Florida Forward program.

The additional money is needed for a Poinciana Parkway project in Central Florida and an Interstate 10 project in the Panhandle.

“We were able to close some of the ($3 billion) gap through additional proposed bonding and loans and financing,” Perdue told members of the House Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee last week. “We closed about a $1.7 billion gap. But there is still a need to finish out this plan so that we can move the I-10 project forward and the Poinciana (Parkway) Connector.”

With a $1.31 billion price tag, the Poinciana Parkway project is a four-mile extension from the border of Osceola and Polk counties to north of Interstate 4 at the State Road 428 interchange.

Widening a stretch of Interstate 10 in the Pensacola area comes with a projected cost of $162 million.

The Legislature this spring approved $4 billion for Moving Florida Forward and included it in the department’s $14.5 billion work plan, with the additional $3 billion anticipated mostly to come through loans and financing.

“These projects, they are major, they’re complex, the most complex infrastructure projects that we’ve done. So, it’s important that we were strategic in how we include those into our work program,” Perdue said. “You know, they have to be scheduled at the appropriate time in a region that can handle the workload at that moment in time.”

DeSantis announced the Moving Florida Forward program in January, with 18 projects already drawing accelerated time lines. Six have 2024 start times, including two projects related to Interstate 4 in the Orlando area, widening part of Interstate 75 in Sarasota County and revamping the Golden Glades interchange at Interstate 95 in Miami.

Three projects are slated to begin in 2025, including widening part of Interstate 75 in Sumter and Marion counties and widening part of Interstate 275 in Pinellas County. Another three are scheduled to start in 2026, including widening part of U.S. 98 in Panama City and reconstructing part of Interstate 4 in the Orlando area.

Six more are slated to get underway in 2027, including an Interstate 95 project at U.S. 1 in Volusia County and widening part of Interstate 75 in Southwest Florida.

Lawmakers will consider DeSantis’ budget proposal as they negotiate a final spending plan during the legislative session that will start Jan. 9. The new budget will take effect July 1.

One Response to "Money Eyed for Transportation Funding ‘Gap’"

  1. How much for half-mile passing lanes on Hwy 90 heading into Jefferson County?
    A rush-hour wreck closes the highway down in both directions. Seen it many times. Not to mention the slow drivers who want to go 40 MPH (the speed limit is 55) with nine cars stacked up behind them.
    Solution: Remove or move back a few of the crepe myrtles and give drivers a chance to get around the bottlenecks. New subdivisions near the I-10/Hwy 59 (Gamble Rd.) intersection are growing rapidly, as people escape Taxahassee.

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