Transportation Advantages in Florida
Reaching the World
Interconnected transportation systems ensure swift, efficient movement of people and products.
As NASA celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing in July 2009, a presidential panel continued to review several scenarios for America’s space program, one of which would extend the shuttle program through 2014. At present, the shuttles are scheduled to be retired at the end of 2010, and the target date for launching the next generation of piloted spacecraft is March 2015. In the meantime, at Kennedy Space Center, work is under way to transition Launch Complex 39B for the new Ares and Orion spacecraft; Firing Room 1 in the Launch Control Center is being renovated to support future Constellation program launches.
Florida’s Spaceport at Cape Canaveral is one of only five commercially licensed spaceports in the United States. Florida hosts nearly one-third of all commercial space activity worldwide as well as civil and military space operations, with primary emphasis on payload processing, launch operations and spaceport range technologies.
| • State highways with 42,079 lane miles and 6,503 bridges
• Local roads with 107,482 lane miles and 5,061 bridges
Florida boasts a 12,066-mile state highway system and nearly 100,000 miles of other public roads offering easy access to regional and national markets and ready links to airports and seaports. And the condition of Florida’s roads is among the nation’s best. According to a study released in May 2009 by the American Association of State Highways and Transportation, Florida tied for third — just behind Georgia and Nevada — for roads in good shape.
» Interstate 75
Construction continues on 30 miles of I-75 between Collier and Lee counties in southwest Florida. Begun in 2007, the project to widen this heavily traveled stretch of road from four lanes to six is slated for completion in April 2010.
» Gandy Boulevard
$20 million worth of improvements along Gandy Boulevard, a major artery linking Hillsborough and Pinellas counties across Tampa Bay, is slated for completion in early fall 2009. The project, which converted Gandy in south Tampa from a 5-lane highway with a center turn lane to a 4-lane divided highway with a 30-foot-wide median, includes new landscaping, sidewalks and lighting, plus three electric message signs — two eastbound, one westbound — to warn drivers of traffic delays and predict destination arrival times.
» First Coast Outer Beltway
Plans for this proposed four-lane limited access toll road in Florida’s Northeast region may be moving into the fast lane now that new legislation has ruled that the contractor selected to build the 46.5-mile stretch will not have to pay property taxes on the land. The beltway, which will link I-95 in St. Johns County with I-10 in Duval County, will include 13 new interchanges and a bridge across the St. Johns River.
» Florida Turnpike
Florida’s superhighway is eliminating cash collection and replacing it with an all-electronic alternative that will allow for non-stop travel along a 47-mile stretch near Homestead in southeast Florida. Timed to coincide with similar efforts by the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, the $35.6-million project includes the conversion of 14 ramp toll plazas and the construction of new tolling structures to accommodate new toll collection equipment; anticipated completion date: 2011.