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Florida DOT Could Offer $6M Grants To Cities For Driverless Tech Research


Florida Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg filed legislation this week to create the Florida Smart City Challenge Grant Program, which would offer incentives through the Florida Department of Transportation to promote autonomous, connected and electric vehicle access statewide, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reports.

Rep. Jason Fischer of Jacksonville is sponsoring the same legislation in the Florida House.

The program would provide money to Florida cities to promote autonomous vehicle deployment, deployment of connected vehicle technologies, shared mobility services innovation or acceleration of the use of EVs and electric charging infrastructure. There will be three awards of as much as $6M each.

Brandes said transportation tech is evolving quickly, and for Florida to keep up the state must create a prototype culture within its communities. 

Local efforts along these lines have already started in Florida. For example, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit authority is unveiling an autonomous passenger shuttle that will transport passengers to and from the Marion Transit Center in Downtown Tampa.