There are few areas of the state budget in greater need of consistent, sustainable funding more so than transportation and infrastructure. The nature of these projects requires long-term planning and funding outlays necessary to address both current and future needs for years to come. All the while, for every $1 invested in the Department of Transportation Work Plan, nearly $6 is returned to the state’s economy; and for every $1 billion invested in road construction and improvements, more than 28,000 new jobs are created for Floridians.
Additionally, FDOT investment in seaports has returned $1.76 for every $1 invested, and that number is expected to increase to $2.71 for every $1 spent on seaports by 2020. FDOT investment in airports has brought the state $1.37 for every $1 spent, with that number growing to $1.72 for every $1 spent by 2020.
Economic impact and job creation resulting from investment in transportation infrastructure relies upon the security of the State Transportation Trust Fund.
AIF OPPOSES redirecting financial resources and State Transportation Trust Fund commitments to any areas other than the State Transportation Trust Fund or sweeping funds from the State Transportation Trust Fund to areas outside of transportation infrastructure.
Under the leadership of Governor Rick Scott, Florida’s seaports and the state have partnered to advance Florida’s maritime industry’s role in growing Florida’s economy, both domestically and internationally. Through the reduction of regulations, quality appointments to port authorities and in conjunction with individual port authority directors, never before has the state utilized its port system in a way that can make Florida as competitive in the hemisphere as it is today. The FSTED Program serves as an important mechanism for seaport capital improvement projects, which is crucial to the growth of the state’s port systems. Preserving this program and increasing its value to Florida’s seaport partners is critical.
AIF SUPPORTS maintaining funding levels for FSTED at $25 million, an important provision for Florida’s ports.
AIF also SUPPORTS creating the FDOT Business Development Program as a mechanism to help educate and provide expertise to Florida’s small businesses looking to do work in the Department’s often complex procurement process.
In recent years, the construction industry, various trade associations, and the FDOT have asked Florida policymakers to consider new and inventive ways to fund transportation infrastructure projects in the face of declining gas tax revenues for Florida. Increased fuel efficiency standards and innovations in the automobile industry have caused some to fear that this could eventually lead to a decrease to sustainable levels of funding for the Five-Year Work Plan.
AIF SUPPORTS creating an alternative solution to the state’s current exclusive reliance on gas tax revenues as a means to obtain sustainable funds for state infrastructure needs. This should include a fair and equitable way for both the Federal Government and Floridians alike to support and provide financial stability across the transportation and infrastructure spectrum.
During the past several years, exploration has uncovered a supply of natural gas in the United States, resulting in a reduction in the price of natural gas and an increased interest in natural gas-powered vehicles, fuel plants, and refueling infrastructure. In 2013, the Florida Legislature took the lead in encouraging public and private sector organizations to convert their gas and diesel powered fleets to compressed natural gas (CNG), through the Natural gas fuel fleet Vehicle Rebate Program within the FDACS. The purpose of the program is to help to reduce transportation costs and encourage freight mobility investments that contribute to the economic growth of the state, by incentivizing organizations to convert their fleets through rebates.
AIF SUPPORTS the continued funding of the Natural Gas Fuel Fleet Vehicle Rebate Program, and allowing both public and private entities to reapply for additional rebates when converting their fleets to CNG when there are outstanding funds for the program at FDACS.
AIF SUPPORTS statewide digital transportation service policies to create price competition, promote consumer choice, enhance customer experience, create jobs and remove anti-competitive local regulations. Transportation Network Companies, as it relates to insurance, ridesharing drivers, their passengers, and the insurers that indemnify them, will benefit from a comprehensive, statewide framework for insurance responsibilities. AIF will continue to advocate for legislation that balances the need for insurance certainty with our support for the innovation and technology represented by ridesharing companies.