PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday that a long-awaited Panama City Beach project is going to become a reality much sooner than expected.
It’s part of a $7 billion dollar plan to fast-track 20 road projects around the state. DeSantis announced his four-year “Moving Florida Forward” proposal Monday in Auburndale.
All 20 of the projects were described as being in the pipeline and ready to go and one of them is in our area. DeSantis is earmarking $98 million to expand Highway 98 from Hathaway Bridge to Richard Jackson Boulevard. The expansion is much needed, especially during the booming tourist seasons on the beach.
The only hold-up is funding. DeSantis said the state will take $4 billion from the general revenue surplus. The other $3 billion would come from what is being called “innovative financing.”
“It’s going to be a proposal to expedite 20 major interstate and roadway projects across the state of Florida in the next four years,” DeSantis said. “You’re going to end up seeing some of these projects completed 10, 12 years ahead of schedule of where they are currently scheduled now.”
The $7 billion proposal is one of the first steps in the budgetary process leading up to the legislative session.
The governor has not handed over his full proposed budget to lawmakers. His staff says that will happen very soon.
It will be up to the legislature to approve the $98 million Panama City Beach project, along with the other 19 projects the governor announced today.