Osceola County, in collaboration with the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX), the Florida Department of Transportation District 5, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, and MetroPlan Orlando, hosted a highly anticipated Transportation Summit on Tuesday morning, May 9, at the Kissimmee Civic Center.
The event served as a platform for key government officials, transportation experts, and stakeholders to share insights about ongoing road projects, future plans, and the positive impact these initiatives will have on residents and visitors in and around Osceola County.
The event’s transportation keynote speakers were Osceola County Chairwoman and Commissioner for District Viviana Janer, MetroPlan Orlando Executive Director Gary Huttmann, Osceola County Deputy Manager Tawny Olore, FDOT Secretary from District 5 John Tyler, Executive Director and CEO from Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise Nicola Liquori, and Central Florida Expressway Authority Executive Director Michelle Maikisch.
“It’s pretty unique to bring together all the transportation experts to talk about the collective vision, and sustained regional collaboration that’s going on to improve our transportation infrastructure,” Osceola County Chairwoman and Commissioner for District Viviana Janer, said as she opened the summit on Tuesday.
The County’s strong partnerships with CFX, FDOT, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, and MetroPlan have paved the way for significant improvements to its transportation infrastructure. These collaborations have enabled billions of dollars in planned road improvements, with some projects set to commence this year.
“These people up here, they’re working for you. Osceola County is expected to grow by more than 55% by the year 2040, and we couldn’t do this without the people you see sitting up here today. As you can imagine that kind of growth puts a tremendous amount of pressure on our infrastructure,” Deputy County Manager Tawny Olore said during the summit. “A lot of the credit really goes to our board of county commissioners, because six years ago, what they decided to do was to form a transportation department, and they knew that we were growing so fast, that they really needed to put a focus on transportation.”
Governor’s “Moving Florida Forward” initiative, unveiled in January, allocated funding for 20 transportation projects, several of which are earmarked for Osceola County. These initiatives further solidify the County’s commitment to enhancing its transportation network and improving the overall quality of life for its residents.
Among the ongoing improvements is the Simpson Road Widening Project Phase 1, a critical thoroughfare connecting motorists to the Orlando International Airport and the Buenaventura Lakes community. This project focuses on enhancing safety for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists while alleviating traffic congestion.
Osceola County’s beltway, developed through a partnership between the County and CFX, is set to revolutionize connectivity by creating new access routes to Interstate 4 and Florida’s Turnpike. Widening improvements are also in the pipeline for these vital roadways.
These long-awaited projects represent a culmination of years of planning and collaboration. Once completed, they will significantly reduce travel times for commuters while providing improved access to essential services and amenities.
“Fifty-one miles is what we are planning for the next 15 to 20 years, most of this is condensed, and you’re going to start seeing sooner than later, and the Central Florida Expressway Authority’s investment in Osceola County is going to be somewhere between three and four billion dollars in that time period,” CFX Executive Director Michelle Maikisch shared during the transportation summit.
The Transportation Summit showcased the County’s commitment to transportation excellence, fostering collaboration among key stakeholders, and ensuring a brighter future for Osceola County’s residents and visitors. With a focus on progress, safety, and convenience, the County remains focused enhancing its transportation infrastructure and driving economic growth for years to come.