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Florida plans to accelerate critical road projects

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(The Center Square) — Florida will be accelerating its road projects, which are poised to finish 10 to 20 years ahead of schedule.

Gov. Ron DeSantis approved House Bill 1301, which will include a 14.7-mile road widening project on Interstate 4, that will run from Polk County to Osceola Parkway in Osceola County and will come at a cost of $2.5 billion.

DeSantis stated that a year ago, his administration launched the “Moving Florida Forward” initiative designed to speed up infrastructure projects, including roads.

“We recognize that Florida continues to lead the nation for net in-migration…we’ve got a lot of people coming in, there’s benefits but there’s also challenges to that.” DeSantis said.

DeSantis stated that they have to acknowledge that reality, get ahead of the growth, and make adjustments to accommodate newcomers and Floridians better.

“We already have traffic congestion that is really really bad in many parts of the state. Are we going to say oh well, we’ll get to that 15 years from now or 20 years from now, or do we want to do something to make an impact now.” DeSantis said.

DeSantis noted that the state will invest billions of dollars that are already available due to big surpluses to get the job done ahead of time.

“So we proposed the ‘Moving Florida Forward,’ multi-billion dollar infusion of money into our transportation program to identify some of the key areas that need to see these projects accelerated,” DeSantis said.

According to DeSantis, last month, the Census Bureau said Florida has four of the five fastest-growing metro areas in the country. The Villages in Central Florida being the fastest, Lakeland and Winter Haven are second, Ocala and Port St. Lucie came in fourth and fifth place.

DeSantis pointed out that the projects are spread across the state, with one project already breaking ground in South Florida, while projects in West Florida and the Panhandle are also poised to begin work.

“This is in addition to what was already in the hopper, so there are things that are being done anyways that were always scheduled to be done. These are all projects that are being accelerated to times much faster than what they would otherwise do.” DeSantis said, adding that some of the projects will be completed up to 20 years early.