Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has unveiled his transportation budget for the coming fiscal year. The budget includes $25 million for truck parking.
Dubbed Focus on Florida’s Future budget proposal for fiscal year 2024-2025, the plan includes $15.6 billion for transportation to target critical congestion relief and safety projects.
The governor’s administration says the proposal allows the Florida Department of Transportation to continue to be a leader in transportation technology and infrastructure, while continuing to promote a strong and effective supply chain.
“As Florida’s population continues to grow, it is crucial that we have a robust transportation network to support our state,” Florida Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue said in prepared remarks. “This budget proposal reaffirms the Department’s commitment to addressing congestion relief, resiliency, improving safety on our roadways and strengthening Florida’s supply chain.”
The budget includes $14.5 billion for projects in FDOT’s work program. Projects include:
$5.4 billion for highway maintenance and construction
$1.9 billion in resurfacing
$381.7 million for scheduled repairs of 62 bridges and replacement of 15 bridges
$109.6 million in seaport investments
$997.7 million in rail and transit investments
$210.1 million for safety initiatives
Another $630 million would be allotted for the second phase of the Moving Florida Forward Infrastructure Initiative to expedite 20 projects to relieve traffic congestion. Additionally, $75 million would be earmarked for a partnership with FloridaCommerce to provide grants that are touted to “enhance Florida’s supply chain and innovative delivery models.”
DeSantis also recommended $25 million to provide commercial truck parking relief along the state highway system.
Available truck parking continues to be an issue nationally and in Florida. New data, however, suggests significant improvement when it comes to truck parking availability nationwide.
In 2019, a Jason’s Law survey showed there were about 313,000 truck parking spaces across the nation. The figures include 40,000 spaces at public rest areas and 273,000 at private truck stops. Shortages exist in areas that include the entire Interstate 95 corridor. Although some states reported fewer public spaces, others, including Florida, experienced relatively significant increases in their public truck parking spaces.
The Sunshine State, however, also is on a short list of states with high numbers of unauthorized parking. Affected states are described as those with major freight generating areas, major ports and intermodal facilities.
Recent data from FDOT shows that up to 20,000 trucks each day travel Interstate 4 between the Osceola County/Polk County line and I-95. The stretch has just 36 truck parking spots. FDOT studies report another 450 spaces are needed now, with a need for another 750 spots anticipated over the next several years.
The governor’s transportation budget proposal can be considered during the regular session that begins Jan. 9, 2024.