At the end of last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded $4 million to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to add a new interchange at I-75 and Northwest 49th Street in Marion County.
These funds will create new opportunities for the Ocala area by building infrastructure needed to support a new Buc-ee’s location, reducing traffic congestion at other Ocala area I-75 interchanges and expanding access to I-75 for two industrial and commercial development complexes and the nearby World Equestrian Center. The new Buc-ee’s location is the third to be built in Florida and will consist of an 80,000-square foot travel center, supporting 120 fuel pumps with more than 720 parking spots for visitors. FDOT’s infrastructure project is expected to have an economic impact of $21 million and create 1,500 new jobs. The new interchange will further establish the City of Ocala as a strategic Central Florida hub for freight-related traﬃc.
“By making strategic investments like today’s $4 million Job Growth Grant Fund Award, Florida will continue to fuel economic growth across the state,” said DeSantis. “Ocala’s ideal location at the center of our state makes it prime for new manufacturing opportunities and for visitors looking for a place to stop and grab some beaver nuggets. I look forward to seeing the opportunities this award will create for Floridians, businesses and communities in Central Florida.”
“FDOT is grateful to have a leader like Governor DeSantis who understands the value of investing in infrastructure to serve as an economic engine and prepare Florida for the future,” said FDOT Sec. Jared Perdue. “This new I-75 interchange is more than just a road. Building this interchange greatly benefits our great state by connecting local communities, creating jobs, improving regional and statewide travel for residents, visitors, and freight-related traffic, and helping to improve the resiliency of Florida’s transportation network.”
“Today’s investment in Marion County further emphasizes Governor DeSantis’ dedication to ensuring Florida’s communities have the resources they need to attract and retain businesses and high-paying jobs for their residents,” said Florida Sec. of Commerce and President and CEO of Enterprise Florida Laura DiBella. “Economic development is a true team effort, and we are proud to work alongside FDOT and DEO under our governor’s leadership to make critical investments in our communities.”
“We are very excited about being here in Florida. We have had a lot of success in the two stores that we have operating on Interstate 95 and we’ve known for a long time that Interstate 75 would be a great location but we were looking for the right piece of property,” said Arch “Beaver” Aplin, the founder and CEO of Buc-ee’s. “I can’t say enough good things about the statistics that make Florida special. Businesses want to be in Florida because it is a pro-business state and the jobs those policies bring. I look forward to seeing everyone at a groundbreaking and a ribbon cutting soon.”
The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund is an economic development program designed to promote public infrastructure and workforce training across the state. Proposals are reviewed by DEO and Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI), and are chosen by DeSantis to meet the demands for workforce training or infrastructure needs in communities around the state.
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