DeSantis OKs a transportation package including prohibiting state money from going into local public transit advertising

SunRunner bus in St. Pete. By Seán Kinane/WMNF News
SunRunner bus in St. Pete. By Seán Kinane/WMNF News

©2024 The News Service of Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday signed a wide-ranging transportation package that includes prohibiting state money from going into local public transit advertising.

“Can you look a taxpayer in the eye and say, ‘Yeah, you need to kick in a little bit more money so that some county can go on some ideological joyride on their buses?’” DeSantis said at a bill-signing event at Florida Polytechnic University. “No, we’re not going to do that.”

The law (HB 1301), which will take effect July 1, says Department of Transportation funds can’t be used for marketing or advertising activities on buses or other vehicles operated by public transit agencies.

“Such vehicles are limited to displaying a brand or logo of the public transit provider, the official seal of the jurisdictional governmental entity, or a state agency public service announcement,” a legislative analysis of the bill said.

The law also will change the way the Department of Transportation secretary is chosen. It will eliminate a process of the Florida Transportation Commission recommending finalists to the governor, who makes the ultimate selection.

The bill also will direct the Florida Rail Enterprise to include among its duties the acquisition of “future rail corridors and rights-of-way in coordination with FDOT’s planning of the state highway system.”

A Senate version of the bill initially sought a 44-foot-wide rail corridor in the Interstate 4 right-of-way to extend the private Brightline passenger rail service from Orlando to Tampa.

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