Gov. DeSantis sends $4M to jump-start I-75 interchange project
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/7/23-Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, is flanked by House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, left, and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, as he gives the State of State address during the opening day of the 2023 Florida Legislative Session, Tuesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

'This is going to help relieve congestion but also provide that economic growth.'

A new interchange to be installed along Interstate 75 in Ocala will get a $4 million boost, thanks to a grant from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The funding comes from the Job Growth Grant Fund, DeSantis said, and will be used to speed up construction on the project, which is designed to reduce traffic along the one of the state’s chronically clogged main arteries.

DeSantis said the move was in line with his plan to spend $4 billion over the next two years to speed up construction on planned projects throughout the state, but especially along I-75.

“That will allow some of that stuff to be done 10, 12 years ahead of schedule,” DeSantis told reporters in Ocala. “If you could get some of this done in seven years instead of 12 that’s going to make a big difference.”

The interchange will be placed at Northwest 49th Street in Ocala, and has been in the works for years, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue said. The grant will help pay for right of way purchases to speed up the work on the project. It will be a diverging diamond interchange, a design officials said would bring business opportunities in addition to easing traffic.

“This is going to help relieve congestion but also provide that economic growth,” Perdue said.

One business is already prepared to slot into the new interchange. Buc-ee’s, a brand of large gas station/retail centers is looking to put its third store in Florida there.

“When we realized there was a new opportunity when this new interchange would be created, it really opened our eyes,” said Arch Aplin III, founder and owner of Buc-ee’s.

The announcement of the Job Growth Grant Fund comes as lawmakers are developing a budget that could cut the size of the program next year.

The current budget included $50 million for the program, which allows DeSantis to hand out grants for infrastructure and job training projects. DeSantis requested $100 million for the program in 2023-24, but the Senate included $75 million in its budget passed off the floor this week while the House set aside just $25 million in its spending plan.

Gray Rohrer

One comment

  • Billy the Bamboozler McFraud Dog

    April 7, 2023 at 4:39 pm

    What about wages in general being piss poor in Florida in spite of decades of economic success. Publix 2021-2022, $54 billion in sales, $14 billion in profits, only $205 million in wages. Could have payed everyone double and not even felt it.

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