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October 21, 2018
Money flow: Florida's Gulf counties finally see some money from BP's oil spill

Photo: Illustration by Jon M. Fletcher

Northwest Florida Roundup

Money flow: Florida's Gulf counties finally see some money from BP's oil spill

Triumph gets its first $300-million oil spill installment.

Carlton Proctor | 11/28/2017

Triumph gets its first $300-million oil spill installment.

In the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP agreed to pay the state $1.5 billion for economic damages to the eight counties most affected by the spill. In June, Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation that authorized the first payment — $300 million — to Triumph Gulf Coast, the non-profit organization that will decide how to distribute the money.

Former Florida House Speaker Allan Bense, who steps down this month as chairman of Triumph, recently talked with Florida Trend about the impact the funds will have on northwest Florida’s economy.

The highlights:

  • Industry Focus: “My goal, and I know the Triumph board shares this with me, is to concentrate on manufacturing. Getting a Boeing here. And perhaps an automobile assembly plant. I also believe there’s a lot of potential to develop health care industries, along with integrated housing facilities for seniors like the Villages in central Florida.”
  • Spending Restrictions: “Let’s say Boeing wants to locate at Pensacola Airport, and let’s say they want to employ 3,000 people. What we can do is put infrastructure and roads in place, and we can spend millions of dollars training our workforce for aerospace jobs. What we can’t do is write Boeing a check for 10 million bucks and say, ‘Hey, we believe in you, come on.’ ”
  • Projects: “We’ve already received a letter from the mayor of Pensacola that lists $750 million in proposed projects. And I’m sure the airports in Fort Walton Beach and Panama City will submit applications. So I think the $300 million will be covered pretty quickly.”
  • The Money Flow: “There’s another $1.2 billion out there, and Triumph will get $100 million a year starting in 2019 and continue through 2033.”
  • Long-Term Impact: “If we’re really clever with that $1.5 billion, and couple it with local, state and federal money, I believe we can leverage that to a $6-billion impact. I can only imagine what great things we can do and the jobs we can create with those dollars.”

Tags: Northwest

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