FAC News Clips - October 14, 2019 -

Orlando Business Journal

Bid alert: Central Florida Expressway OKs 2 projects worth nearly $700M

Central Florida Expressway Authority has approved a pair of projects, with a total construction cost of nearly $700 million, to begin their production phases. The governing board for the Azalea Park-based body on Oct. 8 signed off on the project development and environment studies of both the Poinciana Parkway Extension and the Lake/Orange County Connector. Both projects soon will go out for bid by interested companies. The Lake/Orange County connector, with a total construction cost of $419.6 million, will be a 5-mile tolled expressway providing a link for U.S. Highway 27 in south Lake County to State Road 429 in west Orange County. Design for the project is expected to begin in spring 2020, with construction potentially beginning in fall 2022.

Herald Tribune

Anti-vaccine movement derails strengthening Florida Standards

Despite rising concerns about a resurgence of childhood illnesses, legislation aimed at strengthening vaccination requirements for Florida schoolkids already appears dead on arrival. Activists opposed to vaccinations have packed hometown public hearings with Florida lawmakers this month, urging them to reject a measure that would eliminate a religious exemption used by a record-high percentage of Florida parents to get their children out of state-required school immunizations. The pushback apparently has paid off. “This is not going to be heard this session,” said Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, who has also been the target of a vicious social media campaign for sponsoring legislation (SB 64), eliminating the exemption. “My bill wasn’t on the agenda, but we had about 25 people speak against it at a Broward County delegation meeting. I had already met with most of the folks and said I look forward to a dialogue. But they don’t want dialogue.”

Miami Herald

Opinion: Prefabricated construction could lead to more affordable housing

The headlines about South Florida real estate convey an array of concerns from public officials, industry experts and residents alike. From the affordability of housing to labor shortages and from hurricane protection to sea level rise, the issues are complex. As one of Florida’s largest construction management firms, we deal with these and other issues daily. However, Moss looks toward a future made possible by new technology, innovation and a paradigm shift in how we collectively think about housing and construction. Over the past five years, Moss has worked with numerous utilities across the country, building 53 solar projects, totaling 3,400 megawatts. But the challenge to the construction industry is broader. We need to turn our attention to building differently to address affordability and resiliency.

Florida Politics

Septic tanks in crosshairs of Blue-Green Algae Task Force

The first formal set of recommendations on solving Florida’s blue-green algae ailments were issued by a special panel. The Blue-Green Algae Task Force says the state government needs to regulate sewage treatment and disposal, expand septic tank oversight, implement a stormwater monitoring program and provide transparent reports on water quality. That’s just the starters on a list of suggestions including a comprehensive water-quality monitoring strategy to assess long- and short-term trends on nutrient loading in Florida’s lakes and rivers. “I appreciate the time the task force members and the public have invested in these important discussions. This commitment is a testament to the passion these leading scientists and residents of our state have for the protection of our natural resources,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein.

NWF Daily News

Santa Rosa focuses on water quality projects for state funding

Forgive Santa Rosa County leaders for feeling picked on by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2019 session when he vetoed $2.5 million-worth of their projects. This time to prevent a repeat of having county projects slashed, Santa Rosa County Administrator Dan Schebler, county lobbyists from Johnson & Blanton and other staff made a trip to Tallahassee to meet with the executive and legislative branches and state agencies. They want to make sure they know during the upcoming 2020 session what state leaders value as funding worthy. Schebler said the county is pitching its requests as ones that improve water quality, such as one in the Avalon Beach subdivision.

South Dade News Leader

County takes action to save Biscayne Bay

The Board of County Commissioners has passed a suite of new policies aimed at tackling the mounting threats to our community’s clean water. The health of Miami-Dade’s economy, environment, and residents all hinge on access to clean water. But water quality decline is a serious and growing concern. In August, a grand jury declared that the health of Biscayne Bay is near an ecological tipping point and without action, the damage may become “irreversible.” The public was alerted to 68 failed water testing sites in 2018 alone.

Orlando Politics

Governor Ron DeSantis and FDEM Award $150.9 Million to Bay County and $20 Million to Mexico Beach for Hurricane Michael Recovery

Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has awarded $150.9 million to Bay County and $20 million to Mexico Beach to help the communities recover from the impact of Hurricane Michael. Specifically, these funds will reimburse Mexico Beach for ongoing debris removal efforts and Bay County for the removal of wet and vegetative debris. With today’s announcement, FDEM has now awarded more than $400 million to Northwest Florida as it recovers from Hurricane Michael. “On my very first full day in office I went to northwest Florida and made a commitment that this administration will not waver in its dedication to making sure this community completely rebuilds,” said Governor DeSantis.