DeSantis Signs Off On $2.5 Billion to Overhaul I-4 Highway

DeSantis Signs Off On $2.5 Billion to Overhaul I-4 Highway

DeSantis signed a bill revamping the I-4 to decrease congestion and increase safety

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
April 3, 2024

POLK COUNTY, FL—Governor Ron DeSantis signed Wednesday morning a $2.5 billion funding package revamping Central Florida's I-4 corridor, addressing the Sunshine State's booming population and its resulting explosion in traffic congestion.

Building off of the $4 billion, 2023 Moving Florida Forward Infrastructure Initiative, DeSantis signed off on pumping $2.5 billion more into I-4 roadways, overhauling west of US-27 to east of State Road 536, including the Poinciana Connector.

The money will be used by the Department of Transportation to widen lanes, create more emergency space on the highway's shoulder, increase express lanes, and rework interchanges prone to congestion.

These projects, the Governor says, are being started "20 years ahead of schedule". He touted Florida's impressive budget surplus of over $7 billion, proud to utilize the excess money to kickstart Sunshine State roadways for the ever-increasing population.

"It's good to be back in one of the fastest-growing counties in the United States of America," DeSantis said at Wednesday's Polk County press conference. In 2023, more people moved to Polk County than any other county in the nation.

As DeSantis lauded the county's population increase, he explained the traffic difficulties that can follow from swelling communities; Florida is projected to grow by 1,000 people every day over the next 30 years – with some areas of the state already experiencing more than 20 percent growth rates.

Polk County encompasses up-and-coming cities like Lakeland, Davenport, and Winter Haven—cities drawing newer residents toward them and away from the popular Tampa or Orlando, due to their sharply lower housing prices. The average Tampa home costs $436,000 compared to the average Lakeland home going for $345,000, a difference of over $90,000.

"With the Moving Florida Forward Initiative, we're taking billions of dollars...from the state's surplus," DeSantis said. "[It's] a multi-billion dollar infusion of money into our transportation program to identify some of the key areas that need to see these projects accelerated. "

On Monday, the Governor signed another massive transportation-related bill into law. This provides $450 million for a toll relief program for SunPass holders, allowing program participants to receive 50% rebates on toll charges each month.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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