Governor Bush Hails $10 Million Federal Grant to Enhance Florida's Transportation System

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 2003
CONTACT: ALIA FARAJ
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DICK KANE
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~State will soon launch iFlorida initiative~

Tallahassee- Governor Jeb Bush today congratulated the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for being awarded a $10 million grant from the U.S. Transportation Department's (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).  The federal grant will allow the state to expand an innovative transportation information model which will continue to improve Florida's roadways.

"We've made a major commitment to Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in Florida to improve our transportation network," said Governor Bush. "This advanced use of technology will produce real-time results in moving people and goods quicker, safer and more efficiently across our state."

In addition to the federal grant, FDOT will be contributing more than $8 million in matching state, local and private sector funds.

"Safety is the Bush Administration's highest transportation priority," U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said.  "This partnership will create a model for states and jurisdictions across the country - a model that can be used to improve safety, security and mobility on America's roadways and public transportation networks."

Officially known as the "Surface Transportation Security and Reliability Information System Model Deployment," the project will be carried out under a cooperative agreement between USDOT and FDOT.  The schedule calls for a two-year deployment followed by an evaluation period to assess benefits so that lessons learned can be shared with others. The FDOT has named the project "iFlorida" for its visionary goals: information integration for transportation through intelligence and innovation.  While statewide in nature, various aspects of the project will be focused in Orlando, the Florida Intrastate Highway System, the Cape Canaveral area and Jacksonville.

In Orlando, for example, vehicles voluntarily equipped with toll tags will serve as probes, collecting data and providing travel-time information on major roadways.  Orlando's fleet of transit vehicles will be equipped with automatic vehicle location technology to improve transit fleet management and provide riders with information on transit schedules and arrival times.

USDOT GRANT

A new statewide reporting system will provide information on events, incidents, construction and other tie-ups on the Florida Intrastate Highway System.  Road weather sensors will provide weather conditions and forecasts so transportation officials can better control traffic, deploy maintenance crews and give travelers the information they need to plan trips.  Statewide 511 telephone service will provide travelers with easy access to current travel times and weather conditions by roadway segment. 

The Florida project will also provide for complete monitoring of the two major highway corridors, SR 528 and SR 520, that support hurricane evacuations from the Cape Canaveral area.  Travel time data will be collected to give transportation officials a complete picture of traffic flow, thus helping them direct traffic and manage an evacuation. 

The FHWA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) evaluated 17 state proposals before selecting Florida for the grant. FDOT has a proven record of accomplishment in deploying and operating Intelligent Transportation Systems across the state, including closed circuit television, vehicle detection, call boxes, electronic message signs, highway advisory radio, and our Road Ranger road assistance program.  Florida also has an innovative statewide electronic toll collection system called SunPass that uses the latest technology along Florida's toll roads to save drivers time, money, and the hassle of digging for change.

For more information on the state's ITS efforts, please visit www.myflorida.com or the Florida DOT's web site at: www.fdot.gov/trafficoperations/ITS/TSMO.shtm.

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