These are incredibly challenging times for transportation. Florida is facing a huge transportation funding crisis and our economic future is in serious jeopardy. An additional $23 billion is needed over the next ten years just to "maintain" current transportation conditions. That's why we're working so hard to be Your "Voice" for Transportation. But we need YOU! We've designed this Web site to be informative and user-friendly so YOU can join us in this important work. Together we can Keep Florida Moving!
Thank you for your continued support of FBT!
Opening Remarks as delivered by FBT President Matthew D. Ubben:
Throughout the history of mankind, people have faced a great divide and responded by asking themselves, "How do we get there from here?"
Facing thousands of miles of forest and mountain and desert dividing America's east coast from the west, pioneers responded first with covered wagons, then with railroads and finally with a system of interstate highways.
One hundred years ago, innovators faced the 50 miles that separated the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans across the isthmus of Panama and responded with a canal that would transform global trade.
Fifty years ago, visionaries gazed at the moon in the night sky and again challenged themselves to figure out how we could get there from here. They responded with engineering marvels of space exploration.
We are here today because like those men and women who refused to give up when faced with a great divide, we are intent on figuring out how we can get there from here.
The challenges we face today are not all divides of distance. In many cases, they are divides between old technology and new, divides between the needs and preferences of the young and the old, and divides of opinion in how we pay for the transportation infrastructure we need.
As in the case of the other solutions that bridged the divide of a continent, an isthmus or the expanse of space, technology and innovation play a major role.
When the FDOT crafted the last 15-year Unmet Need Plan, who could have imagined that driverless vehicles could be a reality? But here we are, with Elon Musk predicting the viability of driverless vehicles within the next 3 to 5 years. That technological innovation could bridge a longstanding divide, giving people with certain disabilities and the elderly never-before-seen autonomy and independence. But it raises new divides and questions about how driverless vehicles will share the road with traditional vehicles and how regulators will catch up.
Sometimes the innovation that bridges a divide is not a complex new technology but just a simple idea. Later today we will hear from author Mark Levinson, who will talk about how something as basic as a box transformed freight mobility, with profound implications for the rail and trucking industries and far-reaching benefits for business and consumers alike.
But the greatest divide of all may be the gap between our transportation infrastructure needs, about which there is almost universal agreement, and how we pay for it. With entrenched political opposition to imposing or raising taxes and a mobile public more willing to spend money on cell service, cable tv or even coffee than safe and efficient transportation, that divide seems great indeed.
Chances are the funding divide won't be bridged by a single answer but by a plethora of small solutions from transponder technology and toll roads to unprecedented public private partnerships.
Solutions will come, as they always do, when like-minded people roll up their sleeves and commit their will to answering the question, "How do we get there from here?"
Thank you for being here to be part of the solution.