The Secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation, Ananth Prasad, was in Gadsden County last week
Prasad spoke about the many issues now facing the state’s transportation programs.
He started his talk by stating that there will be 100 million visitors to Florida next year.
For every resident of the state, he explained, there are five visitors.
Prasad said that this administration had been able to cut taxes, reduce fees, get the unemployment down and generate a surplus of nearly $1 billion.
“This allows you,” he said, “to invest in things that are important, like health care education, infrastructure and education.”
About 250,000 people moved to the state last year and the average tax burden, he explained, was about $3,000.
Keeping people employed and adding of the new people, he said, would generate about $2 billion in revenue.
Revenues are up, he said, and there is a projected surplus of about $800 million for next year.
“For our state to grow, we have got to invest in education, health care and transportation,” he said.
His job, he explained was to deal with transportation.
It is through transportation, he said, that products move and consumers are able to reach stores.
“It is very important that we stay focused on investing in infrastructure, because that drives the economy,” he said.
Transportation attracts new businesses, he stated.
He mentioned the Quincy By-Pass saying that it is part of the economic development of the community.
“Our emphasis as a department,” he said, “is to figure a way to say yes rather than no (to permitting) with the understanding that not all of them are going to be yes.”
“What we want to do is be very aggressive and when a business wants to come then bring us in to help make the sale,” he explained. “Our commitment is if they are interested in coming, we are willing to invest and not have them wait five years.”
About the financial situation now, Prasad said the state was on a rebound. “We cannot let our foot off the pedal.”
“The environment is very important; we love our beaches, and rivers,” he said, “and we need to protect that, and we can do that with jobs.”
“We need to brag about our state,” he said. “We need to sell ourselves, Gadsden County and Quincy.”