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Source : Wikicommons, Gage Skidmore
June 21, 2022
Author : Alex Bustillos
Florida’s Governor Ron De Santis recently signed his state’s 2022-2023 Freedom First budget, which includes significant funding for transportation infrastructure.
Of the total state budget of $99.7 billion, $12.6 billion will go to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). It will go a long way in helping build and innovate Florida’s multimodal transportation system.
Governor De Santis explained that “In Florida, we have put Freedom First – protecting Floridians’ freedom to earn a living, to operate businesses, and to choose educational options tailored for their children.” He added, “As a result of our commitment to freedom, Florida’s economy continues to thrive and Floridians are better able to provide for their families.”
“Through Governor Ron DeSantis’ bold leadership and vision, FDOT remains steadfast in our commitment to a safe, resilient, and reliable transportation system,” said FDOT Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E.
This has been the largest ever annual budgetary funding of FDOT, and it includes the following strategic investments:
In a recent visit to the Tampa Bay Chamber, FDOT secretary Perdue acknowledged the need for a robust passenger rail system. "There are areas of the state that are continuing to grow in population that are built out in terms of infrastructure," Perdue said.
In a previous Contractor News article we discussed the progress of the Pensacola Bay Bridge Recovery Effort, one of many major strategic investments made by the state in recent years.
The FDOT is developing new infrastructure and maintaining existing features in the pandemic-era population expansion. Road construction projects were designed with a growth rate of 3% in mind, but Perdue claimed that certain places are seeing growth rates of up to 20%.
However, four projects were recently vetoed by Governor Ron DeSantis with fund allocation from the state budget:
Other Impacts of the Budget
The budget also includes $1.24 billion in tax relief for Floridians, including a gas tax holiday that will lower Florida’s gas prices by 25.3 cents.
The budget allocates $50 million to the Job Growth Grant Fund for initiatives that support workforce development opportunities and infrastructure upgrades and $30 million to the Rural Infrastructure Fund, which supports economic development. Additionally, the budget includes $400 million for broadband expansion, focusing on rural areas.
$23.9 billion has been allocated for K-12 education development and both students and teachers would benefit from it.
The “Freedom First” budget allocates $125 million for $1,000 bonus payments to local government first responders. The Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Payment Program would reward new hires and out-of-state officers moving to Florida with signing incentives of up to $5,000.
To protect and restore the Everglades and nearby water resources, the governor has allocated $980 million in this year’s state budget.
The budget includes more than $1 billion for services provided by organizations that help the elderly, people with disabilities, high-risk pregnant women and children, and people undergoing organ transplants.
There is also significant funding for Florida Safe Families Network System, Florida’s National Cancer Institute Program, and close to $2 million to help veterans adjust to civilian life.