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Bob Ward: Florida Council of 100 Project Sunrise shines light on path to a bright economic future

Florida is a very different place than it was the last time a new Governor was heading into his first summer as chief executive.

We are seeing more opportunities, and our state’s economy is as strong as it has been in a long time. And, although there are challenges that remain, the Florida Council of 100, a leading nonpartisan organization of business and civic leaders for almost 60 years, believes such challenges can be overcome with innovative, strategic and collaborative approaches.

The Florida Council of 100 spent 18 months crafting Project Sunrise — a detailed economic study that provides a comprehensive dive into the opportunities and challenges facing Florida leaders in the decades ahead.

Project Sunrise shows us not only where we are as a state, but also provides specific approaches to help get us to where we need to be. It details how we can transform Florida’s economy into one that doesn’t just grow but thrives.

Key to Florida’s future success will be a diversified economy that easily withstands economic shocks.

As Florida strengthens and modernizes its economy, we must focus on the areas of public investment, research and development, innovation and health, among others. With nearly 25 percent of Florida households still lacking internet access, Project Sunrise strongly recommends the state make targeted infrastructure investments to spark certain areas, especially rural regions located outside of major population centers.

The need to make investments in Florida’s rural regions is why Project Sunrise is supportive of the newly created Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program (M-CORES Program).

A vision of Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, the M-CORES Program will advance the planning and development of three new multi-use corridors. This effort was supported by Speaker José Oliva and signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this month.

The corridors will have many positive impacts on Florida, including transportation and technological infrastructure creation and improvement. The corridors will also connect rural areas to metro areas, which will help revitalize rural communities, enhance rural regions’ economic competitiveness and enable economic prosperity throughout all of Florida.

Because we believe in the need for these infrastructure corridors, recently, the Florida Council of 100 proudly announced they stand in support of the Connecting Florida coalition.

This just-launched coalition focuses on infrastructure needs for Florida’s future, which includes connecting rural communities and providing safe and efficient commerce and evacuation routes.

Importantly, Connecting Florida also works to protect and enhance our precious natural resources.

Florida has emerged as a worldwide economic powerhouse, and we now have a unique opportunity to become the state where dynamic and exciting innovations lead the way. The Florida Council of 100’s Project Sunrise provides a path for how Florida can get there, and community and business leaders, alongside Floridians, should become familiar with the report to see how they can do their part to help our state thrive.


Bob Ward is the president and CEO of Florida Council of 100. To learn more about Project Sunrise, visit Florida Council of 100’s website here: To learn more about Connecting Florida, visit their website here:

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