Improvements along I-4 are included in DeSantis' plan to expedite road projects
Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced a $7 billion plan to accelerate several road projects across the state, including work along Interstate 4 that should ease congestion in Polk County and Orlando.
Speaking at a news conference in Auburndale on Monday, DeSantis said a plan he will present to the legislature in March will help the Florida Department of Transportation complete 20 projects in four years — between 10 and 12 years ahead of schedule.
These include several improvements along I-4, including adding new lanes, reconstructing interchanges, and connecting roadways in Central Florida to the interstate.
"You have places in Central Florida and others that really are struggling with congestion," DeSantis said. "You see some of those projects, which need to be done. The problem is on the current course, some of these things won't be completed for 20 years. And so I don't think that that we can wait 20 years to get to get this type of relief."
DeSantis said $4 billion from the state's general revenue surplus would be used to help fund the projects.
"These are things we're gonna have to do anyways," DeSantis said. "We have more than enough resources to make it happen much sooner. And if you think about waiting in the normal pipeline, a lot of these problems are gonna be exacerbated by then. So I think we've got to get moving on it."
While DeSantis identified I-4 and traffic in Central Florida — including Orlando — as key focus areas, the proposal includes several improvements in other areas across the greater Tampa Bay region.
They include $354 million toward improvements on I-275 near downtown St. Petersburg, from 38th Avenue N. to Fourth Street N., and an improved interchange on I-75 at Fruitville Road in Sarasota.
Also included is $479 million to build auxiliary lanes on I-75 between Wildwood and Ocala.
“The (Florida Department of Transportation) has worked closely with communities and our partners through the years to plan and prepare these projects for construction," FDOT Secretary Jared W. Perdue said. "Receiving this funding will allow the vision of each project to become a reality in the immediate future to better meet the growing demands in communities throughout the state.
"Our team is prepared and ready to work with the Legislature to deliver these critical projects and strengthen Florida’s transportation infrastructure.”
According to a release from DeSantis' office, Florida has more than 22 million residents and had nearly 105 million visitors during the first three quarters of 2022.
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