One of the busiest and most scorned corridors in the Southeast is getting a $15 million boost from the federal government. On Thursday, the Biden administration announced the Florida Department of Transportation had secured funding for the construction of a new truck parking facility on Interstate 4 between Tampa and Orlando.
The facility, near Plant City, will bring approximately 120 spaces, electric charging stations and pedestrian infrastructure to access nearby commercial amenities to the corridor, which carries an average of 18,000 trucks daily and anchors one of the largest concentrations of distribution centers in the region. The goal is improved supply chain efficiency and reduced commercial vehicle emissions, with drivers spending less time searching for free spots.
“The project will also play a pivotal role in Florida’s weather-related resiliency plan as it will serve as a staging area for fuel and supplies during natural disasters,” said Kris Carson, regional spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation.
The project is among $1.5 billion in transportation grants handed out to 26 projects nationwide thanks to increased funding from last year’s infrastructure law. All of Florida’s Republican elected officials in Congress voted against the bill while all of the state’s Democrats voted for.
“Today we are announcing transformative investments in our nation’s roads, bridges, ports, and rail to improve the way Americans get around and help lower the costs of shipping goods,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “Using funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are able to support more excellent community-led projects this year than ever before.”
Manatee County Port Authority was awarded $11.95 million to help construct an approximately 16.5-acre container yard at Port Manatee. The project is aimed at job creation, and reducing backlogs and supply chain bottlenecks along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Beyond the Sunshine State, other winners of the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America, or INFRA, grants include $104.6 million for the dismantling of Interstate 375, a 1-mile freeway in Detroit that was built by demolishing two of the city’s predominantly African American neighborhoods 60 years ago.
Flagstaff, Arizona, secured $32.5 million to build pedestrian underpasses to reconnect lower-income neighborhoods isolated by a 1-mile segment of railroad to downtown, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation won $25 million for bridge reconstruction and rehabilitation as part of an effort to improve resiliency and disaster preparedness.
Last year’s infrastructure deal increased funding for the INFRA program by more than 50%. The program has a bigger total pot of $8 billion over five years, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.