With $85 million earmarked for two major road projects in the Panhandle, Governor Rick Scott's fiscal budget was met with satisfaction. On the list was the 23rd street flyover, it's a long awaited project that can alleviate traffic congestion and bring business to Port Panama City.
Over the next 4 years, $974 million will be pumped into Northwest Florida, just in transportation infrastructure; it's a feat that lawmakers representing the area are proud of.
"I am told that this is the largest, single investment of state fund in transportation infrastructure in Northwest Florida history. I am glad about that." Senate President Don Gaetz and his colleagues officially endorsed five projects that will affect Panama City directly and indirectly.
The total price tag, $276 million dollars.
Representative Jimmy Patronis reflected on the area's past 10 years where the direct corridors to Bay County were limited.
Five projects were named on Thursday, the expansion of state road 77 and 79, upgrades to Port Panama City, the 23rd Street Flyover and renovations to the rail crossing over the Apalachicola River, which will help develop the Port of Port Saint Joe.
"We work as a team, so the beauty of that is that we don't stop at a line, this is all of Northwest Florida." Minority Whip Bill Montford says.
Residents and business leaders say they are most excited for the 23rd street flyover. The design is meant to help reduce traffic near Gulf Coast State College and Port Panama City, all while creating easy access for trains traveling into the area.
Before the project is constructed, the Florida Department of Transportation will need to finish purchasing the right away space to build the flyover, some of those properties have already been cleared.
Estimates suggest this work will be done by 2014 and construction could start the year after.