Rick Scott announced at the Florida Airports Council Meeting Tuesday that his budget for the approaching fiscal year includes $325 million for aviation improvements. Overall, the Scott budget offers a record $8.8 billion to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to make "strategic transportation improvements" throughout the state.
The governor said in a written statement, This year, our It's Your Money Tax Cut Budget invests in transportation projects to further strengthen our world-class transportation system and enable Florida to be a global hub for trade and commerce. These improvements will create more jobs and opportunities for Florida families, and because aviation is a vital industry in Florida, I am recommending nearly $325 million for aviation improvements.
Florida Airports Council (FAC) Executive Director Bill Johnson said, On behalf of all the airports in Florida, we greatly appreciate the increase in funding proposed by Governor Scott. Airports in Florida handle more than 143 million passengers each year, including 28 million international passengers. An investment in airports is an investment in Florida's future.
Because of this money for aviation, FDOT will be able to help fund many significant aviation projects in Florida, according to FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad.
Prasad said, Aviation is a key component in Floridas ability to create a world-class transportation system. Governor Scotts investment not only strengthens our infrastructure but enhances Floridas economy for years to come.
Here are some of the major airport grant projects:
Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport
- Funding $15.9 million for runway improvements extends and expands Runway 9R/27L to 9,000 feet by 200 feet improves existing and future runway capacity, and reduces airline arrival and departure delays.
Miami International Airport
- Funding $7.4 million to upgrade concourse at Miami International Airport in Miami-Dade County provides increased terminal accommodations for the movement of people and to promote economic prosperity.
Some of the major airport development projects are:
Pensacola International Airport
- Funding $14 million in airport expansion projects to support the establishment of ST Aerospace, a major maintenance, repair and overhaul service provider.
- Services large aircraft such as Boeing.
- 300 new jobs over the next few years.
Melbourne International Airport
- Investing $36.1 million into Embraer Aircrafts new manufacturing facility over the next two years.
- Manufacturer of L450 and L500 corporate jets.
- This project will bring 600 new jobs at an average salary of $55,000, and $15 million in additional capital investments.
In response, Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. Gonzez praised the governor's aviation investment.
I applaud Governor Scotts FDOT Aviation Grant Program budget proposal, which would double the states investment in the vital aviation infrastructure that underpins our tourism and trade sectors. Last year, Miami International Airport benefited from $20 million in FDOT Aviation grants, and we will continue to work closely with our state partners to advance this critical industry.
Said Pensacola International Airport Director Greg Donovan, The successes of growing the aerospace industry in Northwest Florida and providing superior operating environments for aviation-related development depends on airport infrastructure. ... In the coming years, hundreds of additional jobs and partnership with many new companies are now possible due to Governor Scotts strong support of transportation. Pensacola International Airport serves as the states gateway for over 1.5 million passengers every year while providing an annual economic impact of over $565 million. We are extremely grateful ..."