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Florida Lawmakers Plan Investment in Highway Signs

Gainesville residents learned this week that Florida state lawmakers are rushing to meet a deadline to pass new legislative actions. One of the decisions could reduce the number of future car accidents on the Florida's interstate highways is a budget allocation for $2 million. This allocation will fund the cost of "real-time" signs alerting drivers on state highways about hazardous road conditions.

This new legislative development is important as it represents a political response to the tragic series of motor vehicle accidents in January that claimed the lives of 11 victims.

Readers might recall that the highway section that runs south of Gainesville was deemed hazardous for drivers due to smoke and fog earlier on the day of the horrific incident. When it appeared conditions were improved the roadway was reopened; leading many to wonder if the decision was premature. It also prompted many to ask if such a tragedy could have been avoided if drivers could have been quickly warned of the changing conditions on the highway. The proposed signs would be able to immediately forewarn motorists of such a scenario.

A state representative, Mike Horner, R-Kissimmee, stated that the new allocated money includes signs for Alachua County and other locations in the state interstate network. "It's a response to the I-75 accident," he noted. He is the chairman of the House group that supervises spending on transportation.

Horner noted further, "But we decided that we wanted to look at doing this across the state," according to a news report.

Florida's budget must be finalized 3 days before the entire body of lawmakers can vote on it -- March 9. Overall, new budget items are part of billions of dollars of funding to be allocated for the upcoming budget year.

Source: Gainesville.com, "Fla. to spend money for interstate warning signs," Mar. 5, 2012

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