Florida Transit Agency Partners with Rideshare and Taxi Companies
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
Infrastructure is the backbone of Florida’s economy and a necessary part of every Floridian’s day. Poor infrastructure affects us all—businesses and people are simply less productive when the power goes off or when deliveries are delayed. In places like Miami and Orlando, commuters know the cost of congestion far too well because it now exceeds $1,000 per driver each year. Only one failure of a necessary part of the infrastructure system initiates a cascade of increased costs, delays and energy expenditure.
An economic study prepared for ASCE called the Failure to Act Report calculated the cost of poor infrastructure to every American household, demonstrating that $9 out of our of families’ pockets are spent every day dealing with these inefficiencies and inconveniences. The good news is that investment to stem the backlog of mediocre infrastructure conditions can help turn the tide for Florida’s economy and our workers. In this Report Card, several rising grades have resulted from focused investment in areas like coastal areas, energy and ports, or where FDOT, FDEP, and other local agencies are pushing smart investment solutions in roadways and stormwater systems.
We have added new infrastructure chapters and evaluated the grades for dams, levees and solid waste to this Report Card. The grades range from B+ to D- and overall are higher than the National Report Card average. Florida’s population has grown at a rate of about 1% per year, adding about 300,000 people, which is the equivalent of adding a city the size of Orlando every year. Investing in infrastructure must be Florida’s top priority so we can continue to be the place people want to live and work, and attract visitors from around the country and the world.
The aviation industry contributes to over 43,000 jobs, up 40% from just 10 years ago, and its economic impact has grown to $175 billion in 2019. From 2016 to 2019, the portion of Florida’s overall airfield pavement in fair to good condition slipped from 93% to 81%. FDOT has identified $2.2 billion in funding needs for airports. Aviation is critical to Florida’s business and tourism travel, and improvements will boost the State’s economy.
The condition of Florida’s bridges has remained consistently and significantly above the national level. In 2020, nearly 65% of Florida bridges were in good condition compared to the national value of 45%, with only about 3% of Florida’s bridges in Poor condition compared to more than 7% nationally. Leveraging improvements in material science, bridge design, and construction methods alongside an aggressive maintenance program, FDOT is extending the useful life of many of the state’s bridges.
Florida’s economy is heavily dependent upon tourism from its natural coastal environment. Aside from their significant economic impacts, beaches reduce storm damage to coastal infrastructure and communities. While local municipalities are making strides in coastal restoration, natural erosion and coastal development threaten Florida’s coasts. Approximately 62% of Florida’s 825 miles of sandy shoreline shows signs of erosion with 50% identified as critically eroded. Federal disaster funding has reduced the funding gap, but significant work remains.
Florida’s nearly 1,000 dams are primarily earthen structures that provide containment of mine by- products, flood control, fish and wildlife habitats, recreation, and water supply. The average age is 50 years old, versus the national average of 57 years. 98 dams are High Hazard Potential (HHP), meaning if the dam failed loss of life or economic damage would be expected. Only 41% of HHP dams have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) on record, compared with 81% nationally.
Florida’s rural residents receive drinking water from small, privately-operated plants or wells, whereas urban areas are provided drinking water by public, franchised, or private utilities with larger facilities. Few utilities inspect more than 20% of their distribution pipelines annually for leaks. Florida is a national leader in the reuse of reclaimed water, making up 35% of all water supply projects. Drinking water infrastructure improvements are estimated at $22 billion over the next 20 years.
Utilities have been investing in resiliency, and Florida is among the five States nationally with the shortest outage duration, less than 90 minutes per outage. Major energy companies like Florida Power & Light Company, Duke Energy, and Tampa Electric Company plan to spend billions of dollars annually to install underground lines, harden existing infrastructure against major storms, and optimize their grids. Energy companies in Florida continue to invest in renewable energy sources, such as solar.
Florida has more than 90 levee systems with over 1,053 miles of infrastructure that has reached an average age of 58-years-old, resulting in 40% of Florida’s levees being assessed as low risk. 80% of the state’s levees were federally constructed and are operated and maintained by state water management districts. The remaining 20% of Florida’s levees that were not federally constructed depend on a limited amount of local technical and financial resources.
Florida’s 15 seaports generate nearly 900,000 jobs and $117.6 billion in economic value. Over the last five years, Florida’s seaports have invested significantly in capacity and operational improvements to accommodate larger post-Panamax vessels, improve cargo/ intermodal transfer efficiency, and enhance the cruise experience for millions of passengers. During the period from FY 2011 to 2018, Florida invested more than $1.19 billion in improvements across its 15 seaports, helping ensure the ports are ready for the future.
Florida demonstrates efficient programming of increasing state resources, namely the state’s fuel taxes and state appropriations, which have increased between 2019 and 2021 from $9.7 billion to more than $10.3 billion. While Florida keeps pace with its growing needs, FDOT is focusing on future needs with an increased focus on building resilience, attention to the evolving transportation needs of its growing elderly population, and a willingness to integrate innovations across the transportation system.
Across Florida’s 67 school districts, there are nearly 3,600 K-12 schools and about 180,000 permanent classrooms. As the average building age increases, currently at 31 years old, the need for repairs and rehabilitation grows. To address aging facilities and looming capacity needs, state funding from motor vehicles licensing and gross receipt taxes has increased between 2016 and 2020 by a total of nearly $40 million. However, available funding is not sufficient to meet the needs.
Increased populations of both permanent residents and visiting tourists are contributing to the amount of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) generated, which is nearly triple the national per capita average of 4.51 pounds per day. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has programs in place to adequately protect Florida’s natural resources, while permitting and monitoring MSW handling. In general, the Solid Waste Infrastructure in Florida is good, with opportunities to improve recycling and reuse programs.
Florida’s stormwater management infrastructure plays a significant role in maintaining suitable conditions through flood protection and water quality improvements. 35% of the state’s local governing bodies reported having a stormwater program to fund and maintain the infrastructure. However, needs are significant, about $14 million per stormwater entity by 2023. Senate Bill 1954 signed in May 2021 designates $500 million to support the implementation of projects in the Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan.
Florida’s transit systems provide millions of people with automobile, bus, paratransit, rail, and ferry services. Florida’s local funds and multi-regional expansions have tracked with the changing operational needs while state and federal funds have increased to fill some gaps and contribute to capital investments. Florida’s transit system benefits from adaptive planning, such as first and last mile options, to counteract challenges like population growth, impacts from climate change, and increased dependence on digital systems.
Florida is a national leader in reclaimed wastewater and climate adaptation frameworks thanks to partnerships among utilities, universities, and industry leaders. Smaller systems are increasingly overwhelmed by the frequent and extreme weather events. As Florida infrastructure ages, recent legislation has directed utilities to institutionalize asset management to improve efficient and effective resource use. However, as new technologies are integrated, the sector cannot become complacent due to the growing threat caused by vulnerable cyber security networks.
A: EXCEPTIONAL, B: GOOD, C: MEDIOCRE, D: POOR, F: FAILING
Each category was evaluated on the basis of capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation
26 major airports
12,518 bridges, 2.9% of which were structurally deficient in 2019
102 high hazard dams
$21.9 billion total drinking water need over 20 years
848 outages between 2008 and 2017
93 Superfund sites
1,540 miles of inland waterways
970 miles of levees protect 859,000 residents and $61.9 billion of property.
$240,016,539 in deferred park maintenance
8 major water ports
2,851 miles of rail across the state
13% of roads are in poor condition. Each motorist pays $425 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair
18,213,192 tons of municipal solid waste
$6.64 average monthly fee
227.4 million passenger trips in 2018
$18.4 billion in wastewater needs
Smart investment will only be possible with strong leadership, decisive action, and a clear vision for our nation’s infrastructure.
If the United States is serious about achieving an infrastructure system fit for the future some specific steps must be taken, beginning with increased, long-term, consistent investment.
We must utilize new approaches, materials, and technologies to ensure our infrastructure can withstand or quickly recover from natural or man-made hazards.
Florida Transit Agency Partners with Rideshare and Taxi Companies
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
Innovative Solutions for Outdated Waste Facilities
Escambia County, FL
Drought-Proof, Alternative Water Supply Facility for Tampa Bay
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