FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today visited the I-95 Express Lanes in Fort Lauderdale, a project that reflects how transportation can help create the type of economic opportunities President Obama discussed in his State of the Union address this week. The $112 million project used $105 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds from the Department of Transportation. Secretary Foxx was joined by U.S. Representatives Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Lois Frankel, along with state and local officials.
“The road to opportunity can take many forms, and these new Express Lanes will help people traveling between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale get to work and home safer and more quickly,” said Secretary Foxx. “As the President said, ‘first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure,’ and this project is a great example of how transportation will help businesses and residents in South Florida.”
Funding from the Recovery Act allowed the Florida Department of Transportation to begin this project five years earlier than planned, and the innovative use of design build contracting – which accelerates project delivery – is helping deliver it even more quickly. When completed later this year, the second phase of this project will convert 13 miles of free high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to variable-rate toll lanes and reduce traffic congestion from Miami to Fort Lauderdale.
Thanks to the first phase of the project, which is now completed, Florida DOT data show that travel speeds on this perennially congested route increased by 200 percent and 300 percent in the express lanes.
The project features an electronic toll system with tolls varying based on the level of traffic at the time drivers enter the express lanes. The tolls are less when traffic is light, but increase as the lanes become more congested. In addition, express bus service using new low-emission buses will be available along the corridor, expanding transportation options for residents.
By combining transit, technology and travel-demand management techniques, and tolling, this innovative project will reduce traffic jams along the route and offer improved trip-time reliability for thousands of drivers each day.