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Sen. Ring: If You Backstop It, They Will Come

Sen. Jeremy Ring (D-Margate)
The Florida Channel

A Florida senator is trying to think outside the box to fund the state’s lower priority infrastructure projects.  He’s pitching a plan relying on private investors.

According to state agencies, Florida faces $140 billion in infrastructure needs.  The big ticket items will always rely on state or even federal dollars. 

But what about the projects next in line—the ones marked nice to have rather than have to have? 

Well, Sen. Jeremy Ring (D-Margate) has a plan—and the price tag?  He says it’s zero.  Chris Fuentes from the Florida Opportunity Fund, a state-backed investment program, explains how it works.

“Take $350 million from private investors,” Fuentes says.  “That $350 million would be backstopped in the event of a loss 12 years in the future by the state.”

In the meantime, Ring says, the investment would prime the pump for another $3 to $4 billion in private funding and create more than 50,000 jobs.  But some on the panel seem skeptical of guaranteeing the initial private investment.  

Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.