President’s Message: March 2024

ACEC Florida President Tom Hayden, PE

To the ACEC Florida Community,

Now that the 2024 Session of the Florida Legislature has concluded, I want to take a moment to discuss the various legislative issues that affect our industry. Our staff and lobbyists worked tirelessly throughout the session, tracking the various House and Senate bills of key importance to our member firms.

Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) Budget:  The legislature approved a $15.7 billion budget for the FDOT, with approximately $13.98 billion earmarked for the transportation work program. In addition, the legislature appropriated $250 million from the Transportation Trust Fund to be used for local projects around the State of Florida. These appropriations are still being discussed with the Governor’s Office, and we will keep our members apprised if the Governor vetoes either of these issues.

FDOT—Moving Florida Forward Legislation: Legislation was also passed that allows FDOT to enter into a service contract to finance projects authorized in the Moving Florida Forward Plan. It also authorizes FDOT to retain interest earnings on such projects. The same bill removes the requirement that the FDOT Secretary be nominated by the Florida Transportation Commission (FTC) before being appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, streamlining the appointment process.

FDOT – Phased Design-Build Contracts / Public Transit / Limitation of Liability: Legislation was also approved regarding phased design-build contracts, requiring the FDOT to receive at least three Letters of Interest (LOI) in order to proceed with a Request for Proposal (RFP). In addition, the language requires that the FDOT request proposals from no fewer than three of the firms submitting LOIs. The bill also limits the amount of money that can be taken from the Transportation Trust Fund for public transit projects to a maximum of 20% of annual trust fund revenue. Finally, the bill amended provisions relating to limitations on liability for FDOT and the contractors and design engineers who work on FDOT Projects.

FDOT – CEI Sovereign Immunity Protection / Local Preference Programs: Another bill that was passed provides sovereign immunity protection for CEIs working as subconsultants on FDOT projects by designating these firms as “agents of the state.”  This legislation also increases the limit for construction under a continuing contract from $4 million to $7.5 million (indexed for future annual increases). Also, it limits the use of local preference programs to only projects that are funded in their entirety by the local government agency.

New Environmental Work Program: Lawmakers also passed legislation requiring 96% of revenue from the Seminole Gaming Compact be set aside for the state’s critical environmental projects. This funding will likely lead to the creation of a 5-year work program similar to the FDOT work program. It is estimated that at least $450 million will be available for this new work program, including $75 million for water resource projects, $100 million for land acquisition, $150 million for flood control, and $96 million for land management. It should be noted that the 2021 gaming compact faces two challenges in state and federal court.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) Stormwater Rules: The legislature ratified the FDEP’s revisions to the stormwater rules within Chapter 62-330 of the Florida Administrative Code. These new rules will create new minimum performance standards for all ERP stormwater systems, including the requirement that applicants demonstrate through modeling and calculations that their proposed stormwater treatment system is designed to discharge to the required treatment level. The new rules also create requirements for periodic inspections and for the operation and maintenance of stormwater treatment systems.  Finally, they provide new permitting criteria for the construction of new dams or alteration of existing dams.


Tom Hayden, P.E.
Vice President / Senior Geotechnical Engineer
Environmental and Geotechnical Specialists (EGS) |

Published On: March 18th, 2024

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