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Funding for ST Engineering Project Complete

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Jennie McKeon, WUWF Public Media
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Funding for completion of the ST Engineering complex in Pensacola — about $210 million — is now in place, according to an announcement by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Through the Florida Job Grant Fund, DeSantis’ office is awarding the City of Pensacola the final piece of the ST funding puzzle – a $4.8 million grant – for infrastructure enhancements at Pensacola International Airport.

Speaking at the airport, the governor said the money will pay for the construction of new taxiways, ramps, and flatwork, so the facility can support additional MRO — maintenance, repair and overhaul — facilities and other improvements.

“In particular, the new infrastructure allow [sic] the airport to support ST Engineering’s plan to build one of the biggest MRO operations in North America,” DeSantis said. “ST Engineering’s plan, known as ‘Project Titan,’ will bring three additional MRO hangars to the airport, and create over 1,300 new jobs.”

When operating, the campus will be made up of four aviation repair hangars, along with office buildings, warehouses, supporting aprons, and other site developments.

At that point in his remarks, the Governor rolled credits.

“Significant investments have been made in the private sector here in Northwest Florida,” said the governor. By our state department of transportation; by Escambia County and the city of Pensacola, by Triumph Gulf Coast and many others. We appreciate the collaborative nature of these initiatives.”

Securing total funding for “Project Titan” did not happen overnight.

“It’s a part of the project that we’ve been working on over the last year and a half to go ahead and close the remaining funds that we needed to finalize the construction of the entire campus,” said Scott Luth, CEO of Florida West -- the economic development arm of the Panhandle.

He says coming full circle on the funding reaches a pair of goals – moving forward with the project’s job creation component, and not having to seek any more RESTORE Act monies.

“We have all of the required dollars that we estimated in our proposed budget for this project,” Luth said. “And so our hope now is that we’ll move forward and will be able to build all of those assets with the budget that we have set out for the project.”

Establishing ST Engineering, says Luth, solidifies and helps Northwest Florida’s reputation for being able to deliver successful projects to the private sector – along with possibly opening the door for similar companies.

“What that does, is it continues to build upon our cluster of aviation and space-related industry in our region,” said Luth. “So I think this is just another confirmation of our ability to be successful in this industry, and gets other companies to continue to look at us as a location for future investment.”

Later on Wednesday at the University of West Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis was asked for an update on his call for Saudi Arabia to provide compensation to the families of the deceased and wounded in the Dec. 6 shooting aboard NAS Pensacola. His call went out that day, just after confirmation that the shooter was in the Saudi Royal Air Force.

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“Given that this was a foreign national, in the employ of a foreign service – and there will be time to do this – but obviously the government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims. And I think [Saudi Arabia] are going to owe a debt here, given that this was one of their individuals.”

Fast-forward to Wednesday at UWF; DeSantis said he’s had conversations with President Donald Trump and Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, adding that it’s not something that’s necessarily going to be taken care of publicly.

“So stay tuned on that; that’s something that we’re working on,” said DeSantis. “There’s diplomacy involved, there’s a lot of different things involved, and so I think it probably needs to be handled in certain ways. But we’ve been very clear as to our view on that, and I think that the families of these victims deserve compensation.”

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.