Florida Chamber summit: Embracing tech key to solving transportation woes

Florida Politics |

By Drew Wilson | December 11, 2018

Florida has billions of dollars of transportation infrastructure work that needs to be done, but it’s competing against other states for limited federal resources.

Coalition for America’s Gateways & Trade Corridors director Elaine Nessle gave an overview of the funding battle at the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Growth & Infrastructure Summit.

Nessle said tax reform was seen as a “golden opportunity” to wedge in some infrastructure funding but that has “come and gone.” And bumping up the gas tax, which hasn’t increased since 1993, isn’t the panacea many think it would be – gas tax revenues are trending down year over year.

A possible solution to the funding shortfall is a “Vehicle Miles Travelled,” or VMT, tax. That method, as the name implies, would tax people based on how far they drive – truckers would pay more, daily commuters might end up paying less. A VMT isn’t happening anytime soon, though.

“It may take five, six or 10 years before we can figure out a way for VMT to be ready at the federal level,” Nessle said.

The takeaway: The federal government doesn’t have $1.5 trillion sitting around for infrastructure, and Florida’s couch cushions aren’t exactly flush either.

Though the situation may seem gloomy, Nessle’s presentation led in to a panel of transportation experts that see a ray of hope for the Sunshine State’s infrastructure problem.

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