On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced $1.4 billion for a transportation project in Tampa.
The funds will go to reconstruct the I-275/SR 60 Westshore Area Interchange which will take place in the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
“The reconstruction of this major system-to-system interchange in the Westshore Business District, the largest employment center in Tampa Bay, will help alleviate traffic congestion, improve safety for motorists and promote continued economic growth. Home to Tampa International Airport, two professional sports facilities and over 4,000 businesses, Westshore is where commuter, cargo and tourism traffic converge,” the governor’s office noted.
“As our population continues to increase, we remain committed to improving our transportation infrastructure through strategic innovation,” said DeSantis. “By significantly relieving traffic congestion, this reconstruction project will provide motorists a more effective way to travel through the region. Additionally, it will add capacity for future growth and improve connectivity for Tampa’s residents, businesses and visitors.”
“Thank you, Governor DeSantis, for your leadership in alleviating traffic congestion and improving safety in the Westshore Business District, the largest employment center in the Tampa Bay area,” said FDOT Sec. Kevin Thibault. “Reconstruction of this major interchange will promote continued economic growth in an area home to Tampa International Airport and over 4,000 businesses.”
The governor’s office listed some of the benefits of the project.
“This project will connect the Howard Frankland Bridge, the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Veterans Expressway and Tampa International Airport with additional general purpose and express lanes. This project has been identified as the number one regional transportation priority by the MPOs, County Commissions and City Councils in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, and will allow for the Westshore interchange to be coordinated with the reconstruction of the Howard Frankland Bridge, which will begin next year,” DeSantis’ office noted. “At a local level, the project will provide a significant benefit to the walk/bike network and traffic circulation in the Westshore Business District by reconnecting local streets beneath the interstate to relieve traffic congestion on Westshore Boulevard and improve community access.”
The announcement drew applause from both sides of the aisle in Tallahassee and from local leaders.
“As a senator representing both sides of Tampa Bay, I frequently travel the I-275/ SR 60 interchange,” said state Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg. “I’m proud that our region has come together to support and successfully attain funding for this project which will help alleviate traffic congestion and enable livability and economic growth in the Tampa Bay region.”
“I am happy and thankful Governor DeSantis has committed to fully funding the $1.4 billion Westshore Interchange project and sees the importance of the Westshore Interchange and the role it plays in Tampa Bay’s economy,” said state Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa. “With over 4,000 businesses, and as a vital artery in our area, funding this project will drastically improve our regional infrastructure and allow our community to handle both population and economic growth.”
“The I-275/SR 60 Interchange project is a critical first step in my plan to transform Tampa’s transportation system,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. “This major project will enable us to revolutionize the Westshore District into a thriving urban neighborhood that is safe and convenient to access by transit, bike or on foot. We will now be able to reconnect local streets and neighborhoods, move forward with construction of the Westshore Intermodal Center, create a transit connection between Westshore and Downtown Tampa – and much more! FDOT is a fantastic partner to the City of Tampa. Thank you to Governor DeSantis for the leadership. And, thank you to the entire FDOT team for the hard work making this project a reality.”
“This is positive news for both sides of Tampa Bay,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “While we must remain focused on alternative and mass transit, reconstructing this interchange will be a boom to commerce and make life easier for residents and visitors. The future of St. Pete and Tampa has never been brighter.”
“The rapid passenger growth we’ve seen at Tampa International Airport has certainly made its impact on our roadways and surrounding district and we’ve been advocating for the construction of this interchange to improve traffic flow,” said Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano. “This is a wonderful development that will greatly increase airport access to and from the entire Tampa Bay region and we’re thankful to see it funded.”
“As one of the fastest-growing counties in Florida, Pasco County is pleased to see this vital transportation project moving forward,” said Pasco County Commission Chairman Ron Oakley. “Reconstruction of the Westshore area interchange will significantly improve safety, mobility, freight movement and hurricane evacuation for the entire Tampa Bay region.”
“This is great news for the Tampa Bay area,” said Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Les Miller. “The Westshore Business District is home to one of Florida’s largest economic centers and Tampa International Airport. Traffic from around the region converges on this interchange. With the upcoming Howard Frankland Bridge replacement and the recently expanded Veterans Expressway, this improvement is the key connectivity in the region. I would like to thank the FDOT, the city of Tampa, our neighbors in Pinellas and Pasco counties as well as the residents of Hillsborough for working together to get this interchange fixed.”
“Easing congestion at the Westshore Interchange is our organization’s number one transportation priority,” said Ann Kulig, the executive director of the Westshore Alliance. “We are thankful to Governor DeSantis and the Florida Department of Transportation for their commitment to this project which will enhance regional mobility, address critical safety issues and improve traffic flow on local streets for more than 100,000 commuters, residents and visitors to Westshore each day.”
“This project is the most important regional transportation priority in Tampa Bay,” said David Pizzo, the chairman of the Tampa Bay Partnership and West Florida market president for Florida Blue. “The Westshore interchange is a critical connection to multiple counties and the Tampa International Airport. With the construction of the Howard Frankland bridge underway, the timing of this investment is crucial. We applaud Governor DeSantis for his proactive response to our transportation needs.”
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.