House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, is confident Florida will be a pocket of prosperity in the coming decades in a global world of winners and losers that includes other states.
However, he said the state needs to be creative in building its transportation system to better position itself for an increase in global trade.
And, Weatherford suggested, one of those innovative means should be to consider establishing direct airline flights from Florida to China and India, which he acknowledged will be expensive.
Were about to be the third most populous state in America and we dont have a single direct flight to the fastest growing economy in the world, Weatherford said.
You want to go to China -- I know because Ive got a brother who lives in Beijing -- youve got to fly to Washington, D.C., or New York to fly to China. If you dont think that is stopping people from China flying over and looking at Florida to invest here, I can assure you it is.
Alluding to author Ayn Rands philosophy of exceptionalism, Weatherford said Florida should see tremendous growth in the next 10 to 20 years, while speaking Monday at the Florida Chamber Foundations Transportation Summit at the Honey Lake Plantation in Greenville.
I think there are going to be winners and losers in this country, I think there are states going in dramatically different directions, and I think Florida has the chance to be the pocket of prosperity around the world, Weatherford said. Everything we do is geared toward creating that.
He said the state cant wait for the federal government to set directions, but must create its own airport, ports, rail and road improvements that are directed at improving the quality of life in Florida and attracting business.
With the state holding the prospect of a slight surplus as the legislative session approaches, Weatherford vowed House lawmakers will not raid the transportation trust fund in the coming year.
Reach Jim Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 215-9889.