State Budget News is Good for Environment and Infrastructure

Florida Legislature to Begin State Budget Negotiations

As we enter the final three weeks of the 2020 Legislative Session, lawmakers will soon begin budget negotiations.

The House and Senate have already passed their initial budgets, which provides insight into what the final budget will likely look like.

So far, the news is good for Florida’s infrastructure and environment. That’s especially important considering that 26 million people are expected to call Florida home by 2030, and understanding that long-term, sustainable water and environmental policies will be needed to meet our growing needs.

The Florida Department of Transportation’s budget will likely exceed $10 billion for another fiscal year. Florida is on track for record funding for environmental projects, which are broken out into smaller categories below.

SENATE (SB 2500)HOUSE (HB 5001)
FDOT$10.3 Billion$10.3 Billion
Everglades Restoration$31.9 Million$325 Million
Water Quality Improvements$198 Million$122 Million
Florida Forever$125 Million$23 Million
Springs Restoration$50 Million$50 Million
Broadband in M-CORES$5 Million$5 Million
Affordable Housing$387 Million$144 Million

The Florida Chamber will continue to advance and support long-term investments in Florida’s infrastructure and environment.

Share Your Feedback

If you have questions or feedback, please contact Christopher Emmanuel at

Autonomous Vehicle Testing Begins

The Gainesville Sun, February 3, 2020

A long-awaited pilot project launched Monday in Gainesville — but this time there is no pilot. The University of Florida and the Florida Department of Transportation have partnered to bring the first autonomous vehicle to the city of Gainesville. Community members were invited to a Monday morning ribbon-cutting ceremony and an inaugural test ride of the shuttle, running between the Southwest Third Street parking garage to Innovation Square near Southwest Second Avenue.

Read More in The Gainesville Sun.

President Galvano Shares Insights on Infrastructure and Employer Mandates

Senate President Bill Galvano Shares Insights on Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line
Talks Florida’s Infrastructure Demands and Improving the Climate for Business

Senate President Bill Galvano says he hopes to continue strengthening Florida’s infrastructure efforts to meet our growing population, and will continue fighting back against employer mandates that put job creators at a disadvantage.

On the latest edition of the Florida’s Chamber’s Bottom Line, President Galvano explains how 900 people are moving to Florida every day, and those new residents need sound infrastructure to meet their needs.

“Planning our infrastructure is more vital now than ever,” said Galvano. “For far too long we’ve been doing, what I believe, is planning in reverse and not maximizing the economic opportunity full state”

Galvano also discussed fighting back against employment provisions and E-Verify.

“What makes Florida great and what creates opportunity is not me and my colleagues, we have a role, but it’s the small business owner, it’s the business that comes here and creates lots of jobs, it’s the people who are working, living, and producing in the state every day,” said Galvano.

Weekly Legislative Update

Be on the look-out for your exclusive member-only Weekly Legislative Update. This must-read guide shares the latest on legislative activities and how they may impact your business. Don’t miss out. Want to learn more, email Edie Ousley at

Florida Chamber Releases 2020 Jobs Agenda


Keeping Florida’s Momentum Going and Predicting 200,000 New Jobs in 2020

“Making Florida more competitive is essential for job and economic growth.”

MARK WILSON, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce

TALLAHASSEE, FL (January 13, 2020) – Job creators are gathering in Tallahassee this week with optimism that Florida can keep the momentum going, create 200,000 new jobs this year, and strengthen Florida’s economy even more through actions by the Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis. Additionally, job creators have released the Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda, commonly referred to as the Florida Business Agenda, which highlights where the Florida Chamber stands on key legislative decisions. 

Business leaders from throughout Florida are gathering this week at the Capitol as part of the Florida Chamber’s Annual Legislative Fly-In, and are sharing the Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda which will help create jobs, lower the cost of living and lift incomes – with the belief that Florida’s best days are yet to come.

The Florida Chamber is uniting the business community for good to:

– Lower the Cost of Living,
-Reduce the Cost of Doing Business, and
-Better Prepare for Florida’s Future Growth.

These are ideas outlined in Florida’s 2030 Blueprint, commonly known as Florida’s next Strategic Plan.

“The Florida Chamber’s annual jobs and competitiveness agenda – the Florida Business Agenda – is a set of priorities that will help grow private sector jobs, continue to create economic opportunity in Florida and further diversify our economy,” said Charles Caulkins, Chair of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Partner at Fisher Phillips.

For the last nine years, Florida has outpaced the U.S. economy in job growth. As Florida will grow at approximately 900 new residents daily, Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish predicts that Florida will create 200,000 new jobs in 2020 and that the Sunshine State has a lower probability of recession than last year.

“If Florida was a stock, it would be considered a strong buy. While Florida’s economic outlook for 2020 is positive, it’s not without risks which is why passing the Florida Chamber’s Jobs Agenda is so important,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The Florida Chamber’s 2020 Jobs Agenda Includes:

Lowering the Cost of Living:

Lawsuit abuse essentially amounts to additional taxes on Florida families over $4,000 each year. Florida’s lawsuit climate currently ranks 46 out of 50 in a national survey conducted by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.

  • The Florida Legislature should improve Florida’s legal climate by passing common-sense reforms to curtail abuse of Florida’s legal system.

“If we make the legal climate so it’s based on the clients rather than the attorneys, I think that would be a better climate,” Governor Ron DeSantis said when the national survey ranking Florida’s lawsuit climate among the nation’s worst was released.

Reducing Florida’s Cost of Doing Business:

Discouraging and anti-competitive tax policies, like the Florida-only business rent tax and lack of internet sales tax collection, make Florida less competitive.

  • The Florida Legislature should advance globally competitive tax policies by reducing the Business Rent Tax and modernizing Florida’s tax code to collect sales tax on internet transactions from out-of-state retailers.

Preparing for the Future Growth:

According to, there are 284,800 jobs looking for people and 323,000 people looking for jobs. Finding a qualified workforce is a top concern for job creators. Employers need talent that is prepared to enter the workforce, and Florida wins when we close the talent gap.

The Florida Legislature should:

  • Continue to focus on early learning, talent and workforce shortage solutions. 
  • Continue to support the legislatively-created Talent Development Council to develop a coordinated, data-driven, statewide approach to meeting Florida’s needs for a 21st century workforce that employers and educators use as part of Florida’s talent supply system. This also supports Governor DeSantis’s efforts to have the number one workforce in America.

By 2030, 4.5 million more residents will call Florida home. A growing Florida means a growing need for forward-thinking infrastructure investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, agriculture and other hard and soft infrastructure sectors.

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition recommends that the Florida Legislature:

  • Continue to make long-term investments in energy, transportation, resiliency and water policy for Florida’s future.

Florida is currently experiencing a shortage of access to high-value, quality healthcare and that is a problem that will continue to grow as Florida’s population grows. That is why we support expanding scope of practice laws to allow for greater access to care, particularly in rural and underserved communities.

The Florida Chamber’s Healthcare Partnership encourages the Florida Legislature to:

  • Support expanding scope of practice for Advanced Practitioners and allow them to practice medicine to the full extent of their education and training.

“Year after year, the Florida Chamber has been at the forefront of solving issues that impact the competitiveness and future of Florida’s business climate. Our focus remains steadfast in our efforts to be the driving force uniting Florida’s business community for good, creating economic opportunity and growing jobs,” Wilson added.

The Florida Chamber will track each bill on the Florida Business Agenda, and votes will be used as the basis for grading lawmakers at the conclusion of the Legislative Session. We look forward to working with Governor DeSantis, Senate President Bill Galvano and Speaker of the House Jose Oliva to keep Florida’s momentum going.

The Florida Chamber’s 2020 Florida Business Agenda can be downloaded HERE.


The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit for more information.

Long-Term Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Investments Needed to Support The 4.5 Million More Residents That Will Soon Call Florida Home

Hollywood, Fla. (December 5, 2019) – M-CORES, long-term energy solutions, resiliency, 5G and more are taking center stage at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Transportation, Growth and Infrastructure Summit taking place today in Hollywood.

“As Florida prepares to add 4.5 million more residents and 3 million more drivers by 2030, Florida must approach the changes ahead with smart growth, innovation and long-term planning to ensure Florida’s economy continues to thrive,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Key Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Summit Take-Aways:

  • M-CORES: Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) will play an important role in connecting urban and rural communities and supporting local economies.
  • RESLILIENCY: Florida’s first resilience officer discusses Florida’s need to prepare for sea level rise and natural disasters.
  • ENERGY: Long-term investment in reliable energy sources were highlighted as we face the future of demands of Florida’s growing population.
  • SPEAKERS: Featured speakers include:
    • Julia Nesheiwat, Ph.D., Chief Resilience Officer, Executive Office of the Governor
    • Ananth Prasad, President, Florida Transportation Builders’ Association, Inc.
    • Patrick Goddard, President, Virgin Trains USA
    • Eric Silagy, President & CEO, Florida Power & Light
    • Secretary Kevin Thibault, P.E., Florida Department of Transportation
    • Joe York, President, AT&T Florida
    • Noah Valenstein, Secretary, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
    • Ken Armstrong, President & CEO, Florida Trucking Association
    • Beth Kigel, Vice President, HNTB

For a complete list of today’s events, click HERE for the full agenda.

Today’s summit continues until 3:30 p.m. A livestream of the event is available for media only. RSVP to Edie Ousley at for link information.  


The Florida Chamber Foundation is the business-led, solutions development and research organization working in partnership with state business leaders to secure Florida’s future. The Foundation’s “Six Pillars” serve as a visioning platform for developing the first-ever, long-term strategic plan for the state. The Foundation’s work focuses on: 1) Talent Supply and Education, 2) Innovation and Economic Development, 3) Infrastructure and Growth Leadership, 4) Business Climate and Competitiveness, 5) Civic and Governance Systems, and 6) Quality of Life and Quality Places. Founded in 1968, the Foundation is a crucial voice for improving the state’s pro-business climate to enable Florida to grow and prosper. Visit  for more information.

HNTB’s Beth Kigel to Chair the Florida Chamber’s Autonomous Florida Program

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Dec. 5, 2019) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Autonomous Florida Program welcomes transportation thought leader Beth Kigel as its new Chair. Kigel, an HNTB Corporation Vice President, will lead Autonomous Florida and its efforts to position Florida as the most autonomous-friendly state in the nation.

“Beth brings a wealth of transportation systems expertise to Autonomous Florida. As a champion of Florida’s infrastructure, her collaborative spirit will help ensure Florida becomes the most autonomous-friendly state,” said Christopher Emmanuel, Autonomous Florida Director.

Kigel will work closely with Emmanuel, as well as business leaders from across Florida, in advocating to make Florida’s business climate ready for the autonomous revolution and the technology development that comes with it.

“I am excited to build on the successes of Autonomous Florida and take it to the next level,” said Kigel. “Through collaboration and partnerships, we can position Florida as the global leader in transportation innovation.”

At HNTB, Kigel works to assist transportation agencies, cities and municipalities to develop smart infrastructure solutions and transportation systems. She served on the Florida Transportation Commission from 2012-2019; the Freight Mobility Research Institute Advisory Board for Florida Atlantic University; the World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems Board of Directors; and Chaired the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition Mobility Committee from 2017-2018.

Kigel earned from her MBA, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Central Florida and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Florida.

Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as crucial to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit for more information.


Bob Swindell: How to Ensure Florida Isn’t Left Behind

Planning Today Will Ensure Florida’s Future Infrastructure is Ready for Tomorrow

Bob Swindell, President of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance and Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee, recently shared with the South Florida Sun Sentinel the importance of preparing Florida’s infrastructure today to help ensure it’s ready for 2030. And with 4.5 million new residents expected to call Florida home by that timeframe, preparing for 2030 now will help ensure Florida’s national and global footprint remains competitive.

“Florida continues to rank as one of the best places to live, work and call home.

“We’re adding 900-plus new residents each day. Eight counties, including Broward, will account for 57 percent of this population increase.

“Things like water, sound roadways and common-sense infrastructure, are goals that Floridians can get behind.

“The Florida Chamber is uniting Florida’s business community for good, and is hosting job creators and industry experts for its annual Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Summit on December 5 in Hollywood.

“Top transportation leaders … will share their vision and strategies to manage and anticipate current and future infrastructure needs in a county of 1.9 million residents that sits at the center of South Florida.

“The future of Florida’s infrastructure is vital to ensure Florida is prepared for 2030.”

Click here to read the letter.

Join Bob Swindell and other Florida business and industry leaders at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Transportation, Growth and Infrastructure Summit on December 5th.

Probability of a Florida Recession Continues to Drop and New County Data Available

According to Florida Chamber Foundation Chief Economist Dr. Jerry Parrish, Florida’s probability of a recession declined for the second month in a row. This news along with new county data added to are topics discussed in the latest By the Numbers.

Access to high-speed communications is vital in today’s technical economy. The Florida 2030 Blueprint includes an infrastructure goal that by 2030, 100 percent of Florida residents will have access to high-speed communications. To learn the percentage of residents in your county with access to high-speed internet, visit

Registration Closing Soon

Registration is closing soon for the 2019 Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Summit on December 5th in Hollywood. Click here for an updated list of speakers and register today to hear from the Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition, Trade Committees, Department of Transportation Secretary, Legislators and many others on how Florida will need to adapt and plan for Florida’s future.

SPEAKER ANNOUNCEMENT: Florida’s First Resilience Officer

Is Florida resilient?
…And if not, what can we do about it?

Surrounded by water, Florida is considered by some as ground zero for sea level rise, natural disasters and aging infrastructure. What effect with this have on Florida’s economy and infrastructure?

Julia Nesheiwat, Ph.D.
Chief Resilience Officer
State of Florida

To address these issues, Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Dr. Julia Nesheiwat as the state’s first Chief Resilience Officer. Dr. Nesheiwat has over 20 years of renewable energy and environmental experience focused on water and natural resources as a senior executive in federal cabinet-level agencies, academia and as a combat veteran.

Register today to hear Dr. Nesheiwat during the 2019 Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Summit taking place December 5 in Hollywood, Florida.

Summit attendees will also hear from the Florida Chamber Infrastructure Coalition, Trade Committees, Department of Transportation Secretary, Legislators and many others on how Florida will need to adapt and plan for Florida’s future.

3 Million More Drivers?

Transportation Secretary Takes Proactive Approach to Preparing for Growing Population

Florida is expecting 4.5 million news residents and about 3 million more drivers by 2030. Planning now will help ensure Florida is prepared to meet the growing population. Hear Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault, P.E. talk about the new proposed multi-use infrastructure corridors on the latest edition of the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line.

“The corridors initiative was an opportunity to be more proactive,” said Thibault. “We’re trying to take a principled approach to how we set the plan on transportation needs for this state.”

The Florida Department of Transportation is charged with implementing Senate President Bill Galvano’s infrastructure package. The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition led the charge to encourage lawmakers to pass, and Governor Ron DeSantis to sign into law, this bipartisan infrastructure measure.

Register for the Transportation, Growth and Infrastructure Summit

Business and industry leaders will convene in Hollywood, Florida on December 5, 2019 to discuss Florida’s future infrastructure needs at the 2019 Florida Chamber Transportation, Growth and Infrastructure Summit. Register HERE.

Secretary Kevin Thibault on Changes in Florida’s Transportation Plan

Hear Secretary Thibault Discuss How Florida’s Transportation Plan Will Adapt to a Growing Population at the 2019 Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Summit

By the year 2030, Florida is expected to be home to nearly 5 million new residents and welcome an additional 50 million visitors per year. Transportation is a vital component to the quality of life enjoyed by those who live in and visit Florida. As Florida continues to grow, so do the demands placed on our transportation network.

We are pleased to welcome the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) Secretary, Kevin J. Thibault, P.E., as a featured speaker at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2019 Transportation, Growth and Infrastructure Summit. Secretary Thibault will focus on how FDOT plans to accommodate Florida’s continued growth and take a deeper dive into the opportunities and solutions that Florida’s transportation plan can provide as we move towards 2030 and beyond.

Register today and join business, industry and elected leaders in discussions on the role Florida’s transportation and infrastructure systems play in moving Florida from the 17th largest economy in the world to the 10th largest.

In addition to the Summit, the Chamber of Commerce Global Florida Dinner is taking place the evening of December 4. Click here to register.

2019 Future of Florida Forum: Why You Want a Seat at the Table

Florida Chamber of Commerce President Mark Wilson invites you to join Florida’s leaders as we discuss the issues that will impact the future of your community and Florida’s economy.

Join Florida leaders as we discuss:

• Florida’s rapidly changing economic, demographic and political changes and how they impact your future,
• Where Florida’s growth will be and in what industries,
• Florida’s key trends, headwinds, tailwinds and key projections,
• The latest leadership strategies to solve Florida’s talent gap,
• Fixing Florida’s broken lawsuit abuse problem,
• Preparing Florida’s infrastructure and transportation systems for growth,
• Promoting economic opportunity for all Floridians, and more!

Future of Florida Forum
October 28-29, 2019
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

2020 Florida Business Leaders’ Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity

Did you know more than 3 million Floridians live in poverty? Of those, more than 260,000 are under age 5.

Join business and industry leaders as well as elected officials and community voices us as we analyze a path to prosperity for each of Florida’s zip codes. We will also discuss best practices around the state, how they can be replicated and more. Conversations will also focus around 10 topic areas that the Florida Chamber Foundation’s research shows are: Jobs, Education, Housing, Health, Food, Safety, Child care, Justice, Transportation and Agency-Community voice.

Florida Business Leaders Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity
May 19, 2020
The Westin Sarasota
Sarasota, Florida

To have your logo featured here, click here or contact Aaron Kinnon at

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN: 2019 Transportation, Growth & Infrastructure Summit

Register today to attend the 2019 Florida Chamber Foundation’s Growth & Infrastructure Summit and join business, industry and elected leaders in discussions on Florida’s infrastructure systems. As we work to move Florida from the 17th largest economy in the world to the 10th largest, we must plan today to ensure Florida’s infrastructure systems are prepared. 

This year, we are offering a new opportunity to get involved in helping Florida remain a global leader. The Chamber of Commerce Global Florida Dinner will take place the evening of December 4 and will bring together international stakeholders from across the state in discussions on how to maintain and expand Florida’s position as an international trade leader. 

Click here to register for both events.

The Florida Chamber is Preparing for 3 Million More Drivers and 4.5 Million More Residents By 2030 & 50 Million More Visitors Each Year

Uniting Florida’s Business Community for the Long-Term is Essential

Numbers can often tell a story. In this case, the numbers are 3 million, 4.5 million and 50 million.

Florida Chamber Foundation research shows there will be 3 million more drivers on Florida’s roadways by 2030, and that 4.5 million more residents will call Florida home by that same time period. On top of that, 50 million more visitors will travel to Florida each year.

As our Autonomous Florida program has shown, many drivers will take to the roadways via autonomous technology. This smart technology is among the reasons our Autonomous Florida program has worked to make Florida the most autonomous friendly state in the country.

Other drivers will engage shared vehicle opportunities, which is why the Florida Chamber led efforts to advance the most pro-shared vehicle legislation in the country. Still others will drive eco-friendly electric vehicles, and it’s why we were proud to stand beside Governor Ron DeSantis as he took bold action in supporting electric vehicle charging stations.

But, each of these important conversations focus on what is on top of the road, and it’s why the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition led the charge during the 2019 Legislative Session to encourage lawmakers to pass, and Governor DeSantis to sign into law, a bipartisan bill that prepares for the millions of more drivers, residents and visitors making their way to the Sunshine State.

Thankfully, Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature – through Senate President Bill Galvano’s leadership – recognized that we need to plan smart and work fast to keep up with Florida’s growth or risk becoming like California.

Since the passage of what I believe is one of the most important infrastructure bills Florida has passed since the building of the Florida Turnpike, the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition has been focusing on the next equally important part of this effort – what the roads should look like. The Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, known today as M-CORES are three corridors that will help connect important Florida regions, empower rural communities and relieve congestion while also protecting our important natural environment.

  1. Suncoast Connector – Will extend from Jefferson County to Citrus County and provide relief for Interstates 10 and 75, as well as new connections for five rural counties.
  2. Northern Turnpike Connector – Will extend along the same axis and provide similar relief. As anyone who has travelled to Tallahassee knows, there isn’t an easy way to travel northwest from the Florida peninsula, and these roads are especially helpful during statewide hurricane evacuations.
  3. Southwest-Central Florida Connector – Will safely, efficiently and environmentally soundly connect two of the fastest growing regions in Florida.

I understand there are some that will always oppose smart growth and opportunities, believing that a thriving economy cannot coexist with responsible environmentalism or that our roadways are already adequate for the future. That’s why, when one no-growth organization called these “roads to nowhere,” and said, “This legislation could deal a mortal blow to growth management in Florida,” I wasn’t surprised.

But again, the numbers often tell a story. The U.S. Census Bureau says that Lee and Collier Counties in Southwest Florida grew by 21.9 percent and 17.7 percent respectively in the last eight years. In Central Florida, Sumter, Osceola, Orange and Lake grew by 37.5 percent, 36.8 percent, 20.4 percent and 20 percent respectively over the same time period.

What these numbers tell us is that Florida’s urban areas are expanding, and our connections among them should be as strong as possible. Moving goods, residents, and visitors is a paramount concern for Florida’s economy and that concern is felt by Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike.

I encourage you to join us as we participate in the M-CORES planning process to help ensure Florida moves forward with bold plan on how to improve our transportation infrastructure. The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition is fully engaged to help ensure these corridors move forward with what Washington, D.C. hasn’t been able to do.

The Florida of 2030 will be better connected, more prosperous, and more unified when M-CORES opens their gates to the future.

Want to Help Shape Florida’s Future Roadways?

Join the Infrastructure Coalition
Learn more about how you can engage with the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition as it participates in the M-CORES planning process. Contact Christopher Emmanuel at

2019 Growth and Infrastructure Summit

December 5, 2019
The Diplomat Beach Resort
3555 S. Ocean Drive
Hollywood, FL
Click here to be the first to know when registration opens.

Voice of Reason: July 30, 2019