FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                       

Contact:    Scott Gilbertson, Lee County Department of Transportation (941) 479-8580,
                 or Dave Loveland, 479-8509




FORT MYERS, Fla. (June 6, 2002) – With the Governor signing the latest state budget into law Wednesday, Lee County, and its public and private transportation partners, have received more than $117 million of transportation funding from alternative sources over the last seven years. 

Since 1995, Lee County has aggressively and successfully pursued alternative sources of revenue for transportation projects, and has been the beneficiary of several project advancements under statewide initiatives. 

More than $59 million in grant funds and related matches have been awarded for projects in Lee County, and another $58 million worth of projects have been advanced through loan programs and the statewide initiatives. 

The funding has come in the form of grants (County Incentive Grant Program, Transportation Outreach Program, Value Pricing Program) and advancements (State Toll Facilities Revolving Trust Fund Program, State Infrastructure Bank Program, Mobility 2000 Initiative, Transportation Economic Stimulus Package). 

The latest two projects included in the state budget are the Palmetto Avenue Extension in Fort Myers ($5 million) and U.S. 41/Imperial River Bridge Widening in Bonita Springs ($4 million).  Some of the other significant projects include:

§         Metro Parkway Extension

§         Veterans Memorial Parkway Extension

§         Several segments and connectors to Three Oaks Parkway Extension north and south

§         Discount tolls on the Midpoint Memorial and Cape Coral bridges. 

Lee County will continue to actively pursue all transportation-related grants and loans, for which it is eligible, and will encourage and support the applications and advancement initiatives of other entities for projects within the county.  To date, the efforts of the county and its partners have resulted in the award/advancement of $117 million worth of project phases, not including another $160 million worth of advancements that are still to come. 

For a complete explanation of the various programs and list of projects, please request the computer file or fax from Pete Winton at 335-2777. 

Lee County’s Transportation Department plans, builds, expands and maintains county roads, bridges, ditches and landscaping in the unincorporated areas of Lee County.  It also maintains the county traffic signal system and operates the toll facilities on the Midpoint Memorial, Cape Coral and Sanibel Causeway bridges.  It employs 374 and has an annual operating budget of $32.9 million.