Orange County Government, Florida

TRANSPORTATION IN
CENTRAL FLORIDA

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs has been one of Central Florida’s key transportation champions since she was first elected as a District 1 County Commissioner in 2000. She is the immediate past-chair of the Central Florida Rail Commission, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. Additionally, Mayor Jacobs is the Chairman of LYNX — the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority that serves an area of approximately 2,500 square miles with a resident population of more than 1.8 million people — and a member of MetroPlan’s Orlando Board which sets regional priorities and makes policy decisions about future transportation projects, initiatives and improvements.

In her various roles with each entity and through local and legislative reform, Mayor Jacobs has fought tirelessly to institute transparency of operations and accountability for citizens and toll-payers and to poise our region for a strong economic future.

PROGRESS THROUGH
I-4 ULTIMATE

Along the interstate, the I-4 Ultimate team continues to work steadily, as Central Florida motorists began to see and feel the noticeable changes of the $2.3 billion I-4 Ultimate project in 2016.

The I-4 Ultimate project will rebuild 21 miles of Interstate 4 — from west of Kirkman Road in Orange County to east of State Road 434 in Seminole County. The project includes four new express lanes, replacement of more than 140 bridges, the reconfiguration of 15 major interchanges, plus new lighting and two pedestrian bridges. Project completion of this massive infrastructure project is anticipated in 2021.

Thanks to staggered construction schedules, the interstate is able to remain open for business. Construction crews have made substantial progress along the 21-mile project corridor, including major traffic shifts on ramps and roadways at the Kirkman Road and Maitland Boulevard interchanges. Significant work, such as bridge construction, is visible from I-4 while passing through downtown Orlando and the Ivanhoe Boulevard interchange — the creativity and beauty of the overall design will be appreciated by generations to come.

For 2017, the I-4 Ultimate team looks forward to highlights such as breaking ground at the site of the Maitland pedestrian bridge (one of the most beautifully designed architectural elements), continued downtown I-4 improvements and staying on schedule.

Since construction activity will continue to increase, Mayor Jacobs encourages all motorists to sign up for free customizable I-4 Ultimate advance construction alerts, in order to stay ahead of any and all roadway closures. Mayor Jacobs also emphasizes the importance of local transportation agencies and motorists working in sync with the I-4 Ultimate project, in order to stay informed and to adapt to such roadway changes.

Mayor Jacobs led the “Beyond the Ultimate” (BTU) Task Force to explore options for connecting the I-4 Ultimate project with Polk County (at the southern end) and Volusia County (at the northern end). In addition to Mayor Jacobs convening the BTU Task Force on April 4, later in 2016 the first BTU project — from the Beachline (S.R. 528) to Kirkman Road — was announced and funded. This $400 million widening project represents the first step toward connecting with Polk County, and is slated for completion in 2020. Of note, this initial BTU project also includes the major intersection of Sand Lake Road and I-4 — an improvement that will have enormously beneficial impacts for local residents and visitors alike.

Also announced in 2016 was the allocation of $200 million for BTU right-of-way acquisition between the Osceola Parkway and the Beachline. Completing this right-of-way corridor ensures that we’ll be ready when it’s time to move forward with the BTU I-4 widening segment — likely in 2022 or 2023.

ORLANDO INTERNATIONAL
AIRPORT CONTINUES
EXPANSION

Thanks to a variety of factors — ranging from the region’s premier family entertainment offerings to the County’s globally acclaimed Convention Center — Orlando continues to be one of the top leisure and convention destinations in the world. A key asset in maintaining that world-wide profile is the extraordinary Orlando International Airport (OIA), including the transportation connectivity that OIA provides for travelers throughout the region, and the planned expansion of seamless transportation options via OIA’s new transportation “hub.”

Even as we’re planning for the future, we continue to focus on providing high-quality service to our guests and commercial vendors. This year alone, OIA experienced an increase of 14 percent in international travel, and reached a new record of more than 41.5 million passengers. To comfortably meet the needs of these travelers, and to plan for long-term projected growth and ease of future visitors, OIA is in the midst of massive expansion — from building and construction to the installation of cutting-edge technology and passenger amenities. Equally important, and thanks to the foresight and planning of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) board, OIA has land available for expansion — a key asset in planning for the future, and in allowing GOAA to plan for its future as a strategic driver of our economy and reputation.

To fulfill the promise of Orlando’s destiny as a world capital — and to achieve connectivity of vital transportation infrastructure for the benefit of local citizens and visitors — last year GOAA embarked on a complex and far-reaching series of capital improvements, valued at over $3.1 billion, to respond to passenger needs and support the dynamic growth in Central Florida.

Also well underway is the $1.8 billion South Terminal Complex (STC) construction, set to be completed by 2020. This immense new high-tech terminal will feature breathtaking architectural designs, innovative visitor amenities and soaring public spaces. As a member of the GOAA board, Mayor Jacobs has been a champion for transportation improvements at OIA, including connectivity between the airport, the Convention Center District and International Drive – for the benefit of residents and visitors alike. When completed, the new STC will be the first U.S. airport-based hub with five modes of transportation within a single complex, supporting air travel, including the Automated-People-Mover (APM), private vehicles and commercial ground transportation, commuter rail and Brightline rail service, comfortably accommodating 40 million-plus passengers annually.

From job creation and economic impact to improving the way we work, move and travel throughout Central Florida, OIA continues to play a key role in propelling Central Florida forward. Particularly with regard to transportation connectivity — a key goal for Mayor Jacobs, who believes the seamless connectivity of the regions’ transportation assets is critical to Orange County’s future — OIA and its new STC Transportation Hub will make history.

ORANGE COUNTY STEPS UP PEDESTRIAN SAFETY WITH
WALK-RIDE-THRIVE!

Mayor Jacobs continued her pedestrian safety efforts with Walk-Ride-Thrive!, an initiative that focuses on creating an environment where local residents, businesses and visitors can enjoy safer walking and biking options.

As Orange County and the state of Florida continue to thrive and grow, traffic has naturally increased. Sadly, the risk for pedestrians has also climbed. According to recent statistics, Orlando has become one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians in the country.

Over the next five years, $15 million from the INVEST in Our Home for Life initiative will be allocated for pedestrian safety and intersection improvements, providing sidewalks, crosswalks, signals, turn lanes, updated signage and other vital safety enhancements for citizens.

In November, the Board of County Commissioners and the University of Central Florida (UCF) reached a final plan that will help reduce the number of car accidents with renewed pedestrian and bicycle safety around the UCF area. A joint Orange County and UCF task force recommended improvements and safety measures including new mid-block crosswalks, brighter lighting, wider sidewalks, bike lanes and more. UCF President John Hitt was present for the meeting and pledged nearly $3.7 million for the estimated $5 million in pedestrian safety improvements.

Mayor Jacobs also participated in the United States Department of Transportation's Mayor's Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets, which aims to make roads more pedestrian and bike friendly by incorporating safe and convenient walking and biking facilities in transportation projects.

CENTRAL FLORIDA’S BELTWAY:
WEKIVA PARKWAY

The Wekiva Parkway is a cooperative effort between the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX). CFX is primarily responsible for the Orange County portion, while the FDOT is responsible for the portions in Lake and Seminole counties. The parkway is being built in sections, with a goal of having the entire roadway open to traffic in 2021.

The Wekiva Parkway is a planned 25-mile toll road that will transform Central Florida’s transportation infrastructure by completing the “beltway” around metropolitan Orlando. The parkway features all-electronic tolling. Authorized in 2004 by the Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act, this expressway has been heralded as an example for transportation planning through an environmentally sensitive area — the Wekiva River Basin. Development of the Wekiva Parkway has included setting aside more than 3,400 acres of land for conservation. The Parkway includes numerous wildlife bridges, and will be largely elevated to reduce accidents between vehicles and wildlife. A multi-use trail also parallels sections of the Parkway, further opening the area's state-owned natural lands to hikers and bikers.

By completing the beltway around northwest Central Florida, the Wekiva Parkway will reduce traffic congestion on US 441, State Road 46 and many other area roads. In addition to superior aesthetic design and functionality, the Wekiva Parkway has improved safety and reduced vehicle crashes, particularly on State Road 46, by separating motorists driving between counties from those making shorter, more local trips.