‘Six million smackeroos’: Gov. DeSantis brings road funds to Jax’s Cecil Airport

DeSantis Cecil
DeSantis said there has been 'wave after wave' of investments that have made Cecil a leader in aerospace.

Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Jacksonville Thursday highlighting a local allocation from the Job Growth Grant Fund at Cecil Airport.

“Six million smackeroos, not a bad day at the office,” quipped DeSantis during the check ceremony.

The Governor, accompanied by other state leaders and two state legislators who represent Duval County, discussed the past and the future of what once was a military airbase.

The former Cecil Field was repurposed in recent decades for commercial uses, and as Duval County grows, so does its offerings.

DeSantis said there has been “wave after wave” of investments that have made Cecil a leader in aerospace, and to that end $13 million total will go to the Jacksonville Aviation Authority to support construction of nearly 2 miles of roadway and utilities to service the growing area.

Of the $13 million in funding, $6 million is from the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund. Another $4 million will be sourced from the Florida Department of Transportation, and Space Florida is contributing $3 million. The hope is for more launches from the spaceport.

And more jobs. DeSantis expects more than 6,200 jobs at Cecil after the roadway is built, doubling the workforce at the facility.

“Governor, we’re grateful for this investment,” said Mayor Lenny Curry, who lauded DeSantis for his “strong, tough leadership.”

“Not only is the Governor focused on investing in infrastructure for facilities like the Cecil Airport and Spaceport, but he’s also supporting workforce training programs in high-demand fields, like aviation. These initiatives will continue to move our state forward and provide more opportunities for our citizens,” Curry added in a follow-up email.

Rep. Wyman Duggan of HD 15, which houses Cecil Field, said the investment would “set the table for tremendous opportunity in Northeast Florida.”

“The commercial space industry wants to get to space. Northeast Florida is one of the few places on the planet where you can get to any orbit from here,” Duggan said. “People are going to want to come here to spend their money to get to space.”

The legislator said this roadway investment would drive support jobs, such as in sheet metal fabrication.

Rep. Cord Byrd of HD 11 also had good things to say.

“Florida has always been a gateway to the stars,” said the legislator from Jacksonville Beach. “Investments such as this will just reaffirm that Florida will lead the way.”

“This award will support Cecil Airport’s development of existing infrastructure and allow them to access undeveloped property, which is necessary for future expansion and job growth,” noted DEO Secretary Dane Eagle, in an email from the Governor’s Office.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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