Record road spending approved for Northwest Florida

Published: Friday, February 1, 2013 at 09:41 AM.

“We know that it’s important to have those arteries move seamlessly back and forth,” he said.

The state has also set aside $23.9 million to complete the widening of SR 87 in Santa Rosa County to four lanes. The new lanes will run from the boundary of Eglin Air Force Base to two miles south of the Yellow River.

None of the new projects will be tolled, but state Rep. Doug Broxson said people should expect future transportation efforts to include tolls because of funding shortfalls.

“We have done our best to make sure we dodged that bullet on these projects,” said Broxson, R-Midway.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, Don Gaetz’s son, said the state’s decision to invest nearly a billion dollars in Northwest Florida is a testament to the area’s importance and success as an economic generator.

“To get these folks to agree to make this kind of investment means you are doing your job,” he told the business leaders gathered at the Chamber of Commerce.

He said he believes the $974 million will open the door to the potential for future infrastructure improvements. He said everyone could probably agree that more must be done to ease congestion on U.S. 98 and that opening a pass to the Gulf of Mexico near Navarre Beach would be a boon to the economy there.

“These are things that could also be on the horizon, but know that I think this is an excellent start. It’s an excellent opportunity for us, and let’s go seize it,” the Fort Walton Beach Republican said.

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