Last month, President Barack Obama signed into law a large package of reforms aimed at streamlining road-building projects. One of the bill’s architects was Republican Congressman Steve Southerland, who represents the district that includes Tallahassee and Panama City. Southerland told business leaders in Tallahassee on Wednesday he expects the changes to help the state economy.
Sam Pickenpaugh oversees about 100 employees at the Vulcan Materials Florida Rock company's Florida Pannhandle-Southern Georgia operation. During a tour of Vulcan’s concrete mill in Tallahassee, he told Rep. Southerland that his business is benefiting from the reforms.
“We own rock quarries, we own sand mines, we own cement mills, and that’s what builds roads. And we’ve got to have something like that to move our material," he said.
Among other things, the law maintains the current level of federal funding for highway projects through 2014, while giving states more power to decide where those dollars are spent. Southerland says it will streamline projects and create jobs in Florida.
“I think we have been blessed to live in a place that I believe will be the state to lead the rest of our country to economic prosperity," he said Wednesday at the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
Southerland’s visit to the district comes a day after primary voters chose former state senator, Democrat Al Lawson, to oppose him for his District 2 seat in November’s general election.