At the annual State of the County address
, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs focused on the area's record-setting tourism and its investments in transportation and housing infrastructure.
"Already we are a region brimming with opportunity and promise. Just
imagine where our future is headed, and where we’ll be in five years
years from now, 10 [years]," she says. "From high-tech innovation already in the pipeline, to private sector investment spurred by the county’s own infrastructure investments, I am inspired each and every today to lead Orange County in working for you, our citizens, and in working for the future of generations to come."
Jacobs says the unemployment rate has dropped from a high of 11.3 percent in 2010 to 4.2 percent, and more than 2,600 new homes were permitted in the county last year. SunRail will break ground on Phase 2 South, the segment of the rail linking Sand Lake Road to Poinciana, on April 25. Jacobs adds that regional leaders also want acquire funding to expand SunRail into Deland. Orange County continues to dominate the national tourism market with more than 62 million visitors in 2015, she says.
Jacobs says that although hospitality jobs account for a third of Orange County's economy, the economic ecosystem needs to continue growing to include high-wage jobs in technology. The county also faces an added challenge in the lack of affordable housing, and Jacobs says this fall, regional leaders will discuss methods to address this shortage.
Watch the rest of Jacobs' speech here