Governor Ron DeSantis awards $4 Million for new I-75 interchange in Ocala, announces third Buc-ee’s location in Florida

Screenshot from The Florida Channel – Alachua Chronicle

Press release from the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

OCALA, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis awarded $4 million to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to add a new interchange at I-75 and Northwest 49th Street in Marion County. These funds will create new opportunities for the Ocala area by building infrastructure needed to support a new Buc-ee’s location, reducing traffic congestion at other Ocala-area I-75 interchanges, and expanding access to I-75 for two industrial and commercial development complexes and the nearby World Equestrian Center. The new Buc-ee’s location is the third to be built in Florida and will consist of an 80,000-square-foot travel center, supporting 120 fuel pumps with more than 720 parking spots for visitors. FDOT’s infrastructure project is expected to have an economic impact of $21 million and create 1,500 new jobs. The new interchange will further establish the City of Ocala as a strategic Central Florida hub for freight-related traffic.

“By making strategic investments like today’s $4 million Job Growth Grant Fund Award, Florida will continue to fuel economic growth across the state,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Ocala’s ideal location at the center of our state makes it prime for new manufacturing opportunities and for visitors looking for a place to stop and grab some beaver nuggets. I look forward to seeing the opportunities this award will create for Floridians, businesses, and communities in Central Florida.”

“FDOT is grateful to have a leader like Governor DeSantis who understands the value of investing in infrastructure to serve as an economic engine and prepare Florida for the future,” said FDOT Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E. “This new I-75 interchange is more than just a road. Building this interchange greatly benefits our great state by connecting local communities, creating jobs, improving regional and statewide travel for residents, visitors, and freight-related traffic, and helping to improve the resiliency of Florida’s transportation network.”

“Today’s investment in Marion County further emphasizes Governor DeSantis’ dedication to ensuring Florida’s communities have the resources they need to attract and retain businesses and high-paying jobs for their residents,” said Florida Secretary of Commerce and President and CEO of Enterprise Florida Laura DiBella. “Economic development is a true team effort, and we are proud to work alongside FDOT and DEO under our Governor’s leadership to make critical investments in our communities.”

“We are very excited about being here in Florida. We have had a lot of success in the two stores that we have operating on Interstate 95, and we’ve known for a long time that Interstate 75 would be a great location but we were looking for the right piece of property,” said Arch “Beaver” Aplin, Founder and CEO of Buc-ee’s. “I can’t say enough good things about the statistics that make Florida special. Businesses want to be in Florida because it is a pro-business state and the jobs those policies bring. I look forward to seeing everyone at a groundbreaking and a ribbon-cutting soon.”

The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund is an economic development program designed to promote public infrastructure and workforce training across the state. Proposals are reviewed by DEO and Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) and are chosen by Governor DeSantis to meet the demands for workforce training or infrastructure needs in communities around the state.

DEO and EFI are currently accepting proposals until all funding has been awarded. For more information, visit www.FloridaJobs.org/JobGrowth.

  • In my younger days, I never could have imagined that I’d be saying “yeehaw!” upon hearing the announcement of a new Buc-ees. But nevertheless, “yeehaw!”

  • GRU’s commercial electric rates probably made it easy to cross Gainesville off their list of possibilities early on in the process. And disGrace Marketplace’s many vagrants. People getting killed at Wawa, Wawa having to close early instead of staying open all the time, etc.

    • I think you can “thank” Rep Clemons, Sen Perry, and Gov DeSantis for screwing Alachua County. It’s what they do.

      By the way Grace Marketplace is about 10 miles from I-75 and the reason downtown Gainesville has a much reduced homeless population.

      • Are you kidding? The GRACE vagrants go all over Gainesville, including downtown. They have cellphones and take Uber rides, with someone paying for it, along with probably free public transportation. And there are several encampments of vagrants very near the interstate in multiple locations. If you are someone who doesn’t live in Gainesville, or possibly even in Alachua County, a retired builder of 40+ years, perhaps you should spend more time in downtown Gainesville before making such assumptions. And check things out by the interstate at the various exits. We should be a Bum City USA.

        • Dude, as I do often, I was in downtown Gainesville Friday and had a nice meal with friends and a completely safe and pleasant evening. The week before I was there with my wife. If you don’t recognize the change in the homeless population downtown since Grace, you are clearly not someone who goes there or is blind.. By the way, I am not retired.

  • Bucee dosn’t allow semi’s on their property, why would you give them money like that. With hundreds of semi’s traveling every thru Ocala any you want to allow this type of rest stop to go in. I support govener but not on this.

    • Why go to an oversized Wawa when Cafe Risqué is right down the road? It’s more of a truck stop with hot food and restaurant seating.

  • Why isn’t Bucee’s paying for its new interchange? More corporate welfare and corruption. I wonder how much Bucee’s will end up contributing to DeSantis’ campaign or a related PAC as a way of thanking him.

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