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Even as we endure a time of uncertainty in the midst of the current pandemic, it is good to keep in mind that transportation and public transit are incredibly important for the future economic growth of Florida. The Land Journal recently sat down with a panel of experts to discuss the importance of transportation and transit infrastructure in the State of Florida. 

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The panel included Rick Homans of Tampa Bay Partnership, as well as Huiwei Shen and William N. Watts, Jr., P.E. of the Florida Department of Transportation

As many Floridians face unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now more important than ever to create jobs for Floridians. Building the infrastructure for Transit and Transportation could bring many new jobs to Floridians. 

Rick Homans emphasized the importance of planting transit stations "so that they will catalyze the most possible transit-oriented development and opportunities to capture value from that development that can be plowed back into the transit system."  Homans made clear that investing in public transit would be beneficial for the community as a whole.

Not only is transportation infrastructure a gateway to new employment opportunities, it also increases the ability of the working populace to access jobs in a larger radius. 

"Right now, if you are a low-moderate income family and you have one car, whoever takes that one car leaves the second person within a very limited radius to secure a job.  That severely limits economic opportunity. When businesses look at the market and say what's the labor shed look like, they have to take into account that there is no regional transit. They have to shrink the area from which they draw employees, which puts us at a very non-competitive position."

Homans also discussed a number of infrastructural programs underway throughout the State of Florida. One of the key projects he mentioned was the Virgin Trains project connecting the Central Florida and Tampa Bay regions. Virgin Trains has stated that they expect this route to go into affect. 

Watts Jr. spoke about the Florida Department of Transportation's M-Cores program, the current goals of which are to "protect the environment and natural resources, encourage job creation, enhance quality of life and public safety, revitalize rural communities, and provide regional connectivity while leveraging technology."  

Shen stated that "with the broad objectives of the program, the legislature asked us to develop a consensus building process for each proposed corridor. Right now we have three task forces running at the same time. By October 1st, 2020 each task force will submit their final report to the governor and to the legislature." 

Shen then spoke on the process that the task forces underwent in order to plan the building for the three proposed corridors and made clear the value that the M-Cores project has for the various communities located near the corridors.

The panel discussed many other developments including legislation. To hear more about transit and transportation, listen to the podcast below:

 

For more articles on infrastructure, click here.

 

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