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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a series of bills into law this week, two of which impact the state’s infrastructure and construction industry.

The first bill, House Bill 969, sets aside up to $5 million a year for Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise to develop broadband infrastructure as part of the effort to spur new or expanded toll roads. The bill also transfers the state’s broadband program and assigns development, marketing and promotion duties to the Department of Economic Opportunity, creating the Florida Office of Broadband. In a press release praising Gov. DeSantis for signing the legislation, Senate President Bill Galvano said, “the impacts of the coronavirus further highlight the need for the wide-ranging infrastructure improvements, including fixed broadband.”

The other piece of legislation, Senate Bill 7018, authorizes the Florida Department of Transportation to plan, design and construct staging areas for emergency response as part of the turnpike system to facilitate prompt emergency assistance in response to a declared state of emergency. The bill also provides a number of criteria for the Department of Transportation to consider when selecting where to locate these sites, but there was no appropriation for the construction of such facilities, and further funding will be required from other sources to see completion of these projects.  

The Florida Legislature adjourned March 19, but legislation approved during the session finally reached Gov. DeSantis’s desk after a two-month pause on transmitting bills to the governor due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

ABC will continue to update members with more infrastructure news from Florida and other states in Newsline.