Northwest Florida shines in 2017 legislative session

PANAMA CITY, FL – Senator George Gainer, Republican from Panama City, announced today that Northwest Florida is a big winner in the just concluded 2017 state legislative session.

Projects throughout District 2, which covers Bay, Holmes, Jackson, Okaloosa, Walton and Washington counties, were included in the budget thanks to the hard work of Senator Gainer and the rest of the Northwest Florida legislative delegation.

“Working together, the entire Northwest Florida legislative delegation was able to score victory after victory for our region,” said Senator Gainer. “Our unified efforts mean the people of NW Florida will greatly benefit as a result of the 2017 legislative session.”

“I respect and appreciate Senator Gainer’s passion and commitment to Senate District 2.  As Senate Appropriations Chairman, I witnessed firsthand his tireless efforts on behalf of his constituency,” said Senator Jack Latvala, Senate Appropriations Chairman.

Senator Gainer worked to secure $300 million, all of which will come to the eight counties in Northwest Florida most impacted by the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill. Money from the Gulf Coast Economic Corridor Act will be used for projects and programs that will help transform the area economy.

“Tourism is the foundation on which Northwest Florida’s economy is built.  Ensuring our foundation is strong as we look to grow our economic base is vital. I applaud Senator Gainer and his leadership in ensuring that tourism projects which are shown to strengthen and diversify our economy will be considered for funding in The Gulf Coast Economic Corridor Act” said Dan Rowe, Executive Director – Bay County Tourist Development Council.

The legislature also funded $50 million to preserve Florida’s beaches. Of that money, $4.6 million will go to the Panama City Beaches shore protection project.

“Senator Gainer was an effective advocate for securing increased state funding for beach and inlet management. This funding will go a long way to help protect our beaches and Florida’s brand,” said Deborah Flack, President of the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association.

Budget items for Northwest Florida include:

Criminal Justice

Joint Agency In-Water Strike (JAWS) Team at FSU Panama City       $1,000,000
Public Safety Administration Building in Marianna                                 $350,000
Jackson County Computer Aided Dispatch Update                        $150,000

Education

K-8 school in Marianna to replace 3 older schools (year 1 funding)         $19,059,808
Northwest Florida State College building renovation                               $2,741,149
Expansion of welding program at Okaloosa Technical College       $150,000
Northwest Florida State College utilities plant upgrade                       $3,000,000
Chipola College Civil & Industrial Engineering Program                      $200,000
Chipola College underground utilities                                                 $526,541
Gulf Coast State College STEM building                                           $5,000,000

Transportation

Port of Panama City – infrastructure improvements                         $7,500,000
Port of Panama City – dredging                                                         $2,000,000
Walton County CR 30A intermodal transportation                          $1,960,000
Memorial Field in Bonifay improvements                                           $800,000
Relocation of historic Gulfview Hotel in Fort Walton Beach             $300,000
PJ Adams Parkway in Okaloosa County widening                                  $1,750,000
City of DeFuniak Springs CR 280A                                                    $1,500,000
City of Freeport Cultural Center                                                         $100,000
Project 79 Washington County/Holmes County Corridor                       $1,000,000

Miscellaneous

Building Homes for Heroes                                                                $1,000,000

All budget items are subject to review and approval by Governor Rick Scott.