Scott announces funding for major transportation projects in Pinellas, Orlando

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday announced plans for almost $350 million in spending on transportation projects for Orlando International Airport and a toll road in Pinellas County.

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Photo: MyFoxTampaBay.com

In a news release, Scott announced $213.5 million in funding toward the airport’s new South Airport People Mover Complex – a new parking area and rail service to connect passengers to terminals.

The new and proposed state money for Orlando International is a combination of $15.1 million in the state’s current budget, $123.4 million in Scott’s proposed 2014-15 budget, and $75 million in the Department of Transportation’s five-year plan.

The money would complement $467.5 million in planned spending by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority for the expansion project, which also include a transportation hub to accommodate new rail and automotive links to the airport, according to the release.

“This project in Orlando, as well as others statewide, makes Florida’s airports among the best in the nation; keeping Florida competitive, and creating jobs and opportunities for future generations,” Scott said in the release.

The funding for Pinellas County announced in a separate release would include $131 million for an elevated Gateway Express connecting Interstate 275 to U.S. 19, St. Petersburg/Clearwater Airport and the Bayside Bridge. The state money will combine with federal and county funds for the project, according to the release. Construction is expected to start in early 2017.

“With this $131 million commitment we will be able to speed up this critical project.  This will make roads safe, and allow families to spend more time together and less time sitting in traffic,” Scott said in the release.

“The Gateway Express project will also allow economic activity to continue to grow and develop in Pinellas County, which will create jobs and opportunities for Florida families.”

In the release, Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel said called the project “the missing piece” of Pinellas County’s transportation network.

“It is the largest remaining road connectivity project in Pinellas County,” she said. “The Gateway area is centric for job retention and growth. And it connects this major employment area to St. Petersburg, Clearwater and to Westshore in Tampa.”

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