For Full Story: Tampa Bay Times

Article By: Samantha J. Gross

 

Senate President Bill Galvano outlined his top priorities and goals in January, saying a key goal as the chamber’s new leader is to enhance infrastructure in rural Florida and empower senators from March 5 and beyond.

“As Senate President I have lots of discretion […] I will fulfill those duties to the best of ability but always keeping in mind the opportunities that exist when the Senators are empowered,” he said. “I’ve shared with them a vision that is important going forward in the future.”

Galvano, who created a new Committee on Infrastructure and Security this year, said much of the state’s funding for infrastructure has focused on Florida’s urban areas. This year, he hopes to focus on large portions of rural Florida that have suffered from impacts on farming.

The Senate President tasked the new committee’s chair, Sen. Tom Lee, with expediting the construction of three new corridors in rural areas of the state. The corridors include one from Polk County to Collier County, a Suncoast Parkway extension to Georgia and a northern turnpike connector.

He highlighted the “exodus and loss” to local economies, and that the state can’t solely depend on Florida’s coasts to support the state.

“We need to have access to our rural communities and provide multipurpose right-of-ways so that prosperity can return there,” he said.