Buchanan Backs Sweeping Highway Funding Bill
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, today voted for a six-year, $325 billion highway bill that provides funding for critical transportation needs across the country, with many projects in Sarasota and Manatee counties eligible.
The legislation will provide Florida with more than $11 billion in transportation and infrastructure funding over the next six years to help support key construction projects.
One of the largest ongoing projects in need is completion of the I-75/University Parkway Interchange in Sarasota County. The Florida Department of Transportation says the project would significantly reduce congestion, increase capacity and improve “overall traffic operations and safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.”
Other ongoing projects eligible for funding under the highway bill include:
- Repairing the Cortez Bridge in Manatee County
- Widening I-75 from north of SR 64 to north of US 301
- Reconstructing the I-75/US 301 Interchange in Manatee County
- Widening US 301 between County Road 675 and Moccasin Wallow Road
- Creating two additional lanes to US 41/Venice By-Pass from Gulf Coast Boulevard to Bird Bay Drive as well as brand new 7-foot bicycle lanes
The sweeping highway measure passed the House 363-64 and now moves to a House-Senate conference committee.
“This bill provides critical funding to repair our roads and bridges,” Buchanan said. “It’s another example of what Washington can do when both parties work together on behalf of the country.”
Fixing Florida's broken roads and bridges will boost the local and state economy. In its most recent infrastructure report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state a C- and noted that poor roads cost Florida’s drivers $2.5 billion per year, or $181.43 per person. Nationally, the group estimates that 400,000 American jobs will be lost if we do not improve our transportation infrastructure.
The bill was authored by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-PA, who visited Sarasota at Buchanan’s invitation earlier this year.