Transportation secretary excited about future of travel

Elaine Chao stands behind autonomous technology

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Part of a federal grant in Jacksonville will go toward taking down the ramps along the Hart Expressway, which is expected to be completed by 2021.

The grant will also fund small corridor along Bay Street, where driverless cars will be used to carry people from one point to another. That project will end the Skyway as we know it.

RELATED: Federal grant to provide $25M for 2 downtown transportation projects

United States Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, who appeared in Jacksonville on Friday to present the grant, said she's excited about the future of transportation, giving a nod to autonomous technology.

"We have the elderly and those with disabilities who don't have currently the gull array and access of transportation options. Autonomous vehicles can return their freedom," Chao said. "I think to some people, it will come faster than expected and to others it will come a little slower than they want."

Chao pointed out that Florida is well positioned to be a center of commercial space exploration, pointing to Cecil Field and Cape Canaveral. 

"Three years ago, the U.S. ranked number 6 in commercial space travel, and in three years, the United states has recaptured our number one standing," she said. 

Chao said drones are a game-changer for the nation, adding thousands of jobs. She warned the jobs of the future will require greater skills and education.

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