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Senate unanimously passes broad transportation bill, sends to House

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On Monday, the Senate unanimously passed HB 7027, a broadly worded bill that seeks to reform several policies and programs for the Florida Department of Transportation.

After senators adopted a series of amendments, LobbyTools reports the bill now returns to the House.

Among the amendments were adding language to encourage the development of transportation policy for the advancement of autonomous, driverless car technology. The Senate also removed a provision giving the Legislative Budget Commission authority to review amendments to FDOT’s work plan. The language was added to an implementing bill for FDOT’s budget in the upcoming fiscal year.

LobbyTools noted several other changes, which include reducing the money the state would get from claiming dormant toll accounts. The bill also transfers administration of the Pinellas Bayway System to the Florida Turnpike Authority.

The bill also includes a provision increasing the amount of money devoted to the Florida Seaport and Economic Development (FSTED) – bringing it to a minimum of $25 million annually. It also eases some of the licensing requirements for operators at Florida ports, transferring some authority from the federal government to FDOT for enforcing the National Environmental Policy Act.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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