Ron DeSantis vows to fully fund transit programs despite $1B gas tax relief
Image via AP.

desantis suit
'I don't think we're gonna miss a beat.'

Despite his proposal Monday to reduce gas taxes in Florida by $1 billion, Gov. Ron DeSantis says the Transportation Department’s work won’t slow down.

“We will fully fund the Work Program, 100%,” DeSantis told reporters and visitors at a Daytona Buc-ee’s. “In fact, we probably may even end up having more going in the Work Program. I mean, we have the resources to be able to meet needs and to be able to do (it).”

The Fuel Sales Tax is just one of several sources paying into the State Transportation Trust Fund, which, along with federal and local funding, pays for the Florida Department of Transportation’s transportation programs. The State Legislature this year put $9.2 billion in trust fund dollars toward the Transportation Work Program.

DeSantis on Monday announced a plan to “basically zero out” the 26.5 cent per gallon state gas tax for “as long as we can.” Lawmakers would have to approve the plan.

Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault called it an exciting time, noting that Florida would be providing relief to drivers.

“At the same time, we’re not stopping with our mission to provide the best transportation that we can in the state,” Thibault said. “What he’s proposing here is not going to change the Work Program. We’re going to still deliver those projects that we’ve identified, and we’ll continue to look for opportunities to do more.”

Along with rising gas prices, the Governor has made inflation a focal point of his criticism of President Joe Biden. Inflation has hit a 30-year high, with prices jumping 6.2% in the last 12 months.

Prices are rising because of the swift economic recovery, massive government spending and businesses struggling to hire workers to meet demand.

Inflation doesn’t only affect citizens.

“The inflation hurts us, too, in the state level, because this stuff becomes more expensive,” DeSantis said. “It’s harder to get companies, contractors that can do it, because they’re stretched thin, in terms of what they’re doing.”

The Governor will announce his budget recommendation in the coming weeks. DeSantis said infrastructure projects, including roads and water resources, are in the works.

With fewer drivers on the road during the pandemic, the Transportation Department expedited construction projects in 2020, including in the Tampa Bay and Orlando areas. The Governor expected expedited infrastructure work to continue next year.

“We probably have never had such strong reserves in the history of the state,” DeSantis said. “So we have the ability to provide relief for people, and I don’t think we’re gonna miss a beat.”

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


2 comments

  • transit is not transportation

    November 22, 2021 at 5:41 pm

    Transit =/= transportation, certainly not in Florida. This headline was very confusing to me because my impression was that Desantis and other Republicans strongly oppose all the actual “transit” programs suggested in Florida, instead opting to build and expand more and more highways and roads for private vehicles exclusively, rather than fund popular and desperately needed public transit projects like a cross-state high speed train. The article only goes on to mention highway projects and roads, so perhaps the mistake was in the use of the word “transit” in the headline by the author.

    Reply

    • tom palmer

      November 23, 2021 at 10:59 pm

      they probably don’t know the difference. the editing of articles on this site leaves a lot to be desired.

      Reply

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