Jeff Brandes talks Uber, flood insurance on Chamber’s Bottom Line

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State Sen. Jeff Brandes sees the state of Florida rising to the challenge of future transportation needs, with investment in high-tech innovation and free market solutions.

The St. Petersburg Republican, chair of the Senate Transportation committee, stopped by the Florida Chamber of Commerce in Tallahassee to speak of his visions for the future, including the state’s proposed private-sector flood insurance, in the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.

Brandes plays a central role in the Department of Transportation’s efforts to meet the growing demands of airports to carry both goods and people.

“We’re allowing the Department of Transportation to take on many projects at airports that they previously haven’t been able take on,” Brandes said. They can fund up to 100 percent of projects that are considered strategic in the state of Florida.”

He also champions the cause for private companies like on-demand luxury car service Uber to gain a foothold in a number of Florida markets, by eliminating outdated regulations that keep from growing.

“Let’s bring Florida into the 21st century, let’s drive innovation, let’s let the high-tech corridor do high-tech things,” Brandes said.

As for addressing the rising flood insurance premiums from the National Flood Insurance program, Brandes spearheaded the drive to establish a framework for private companies to offer competitive policies in the state.

“We’re 40 percent of the overall market for the United States, it’s time for Florida to control its own destiny,” Brandes added. “Our bill simply allows Floridians to take control of their own destiny. Let’s let them work with insurers, let’s let them determine how much insurance they need, how much insurance they want and how much they can afford.”

Hosted by Chamber Executive Vice President David Hart Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line highlights Florida’s key decision makers, business and political leaders.

Brandes’ interview is also online at

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 His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, 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 [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.