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At Chamber Foundation's Transportation Summit, Infrastructure And Funding Take Center Stage

sidewalk on bridge
Florida Department of Transportation

A week after Florida transportation officials convened in Jacksonville to show off some of the newest in driverless technology, transportation took center stage again Thursday at a downtown hotel.

State officials came together to address transportation infrastructure, technology and funding at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Transportation Summit.

The summit focused on infrastructure and funding and how that should affect the job market.

Foundation President Tony Carvajal says it’s an exciting time for transportation in Florida. Everything from driverless to electric cars are making commutes more efficient. But Carvajal says it’s a double-edged sword.

“Over history we’ve been looking at gas tax and using funding from those fuels as the way we move forward into the next generation,” Carvajal says. “Now, you’re going to be seeing some very exciting things about new ways to fund transportation, new ways to evolve communities, new ways to connect us.”

Last week in Jacksonville, Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson talked about passing a long-term highway funding bill for the first time in more than a decade.

Nelson said the measure, although still heavily reliant on the gas tax, also uses a number of “small taxes” to make up the difference in a steadily dwindling pot of money. 

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.