Governor DeSantis Announces New Buc-ee’s and Infrastructure Project in Ocala, Florida, with $4 Million in Job Growth Grant Funding

Governor Ron DeSantis has announced that a new Buc-ee’s gas station and travel center will be built in Ocala, Florida, with an 80,000-square-foot facility, 120 gas pumps, and 750 parking spaces.[0] The new location will be the third Buc-ee’s in Florida, following stores in St. Augustine and Daytona Beach.[1] The announcement was made during a press conference where DeSantis awarded $4 million in infrastructure funds for Marion County to build a new interchange at I-75 and Northwest 49th Street.[2] The interchange is expected to ease traffic congestion at other Ocala-area I-75 interchanges and expand access to I-75 for two industrial and commercial development complexes and the nearby World Equestrian Center.[3] The infrastructure project is expected to have an economic impact of $21 million and create 1,500 new jobs.[3]

The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, a fund available to the governor’s administration, awarded the $4 million to the Florida Department of Transportation for the interchange project. The program is designed to promote public infrastructure and workforce training across the state, and proposals are reviewed by the Department of Economic Opportunity and Enterprise Florida, Inc. before being chosen by Governor DeSantis to meet the demands for workforce training or infrastructure needs in communities around the state.[4]

Buc-ee’s, a Texas-based chain of massive convenience stores, is known for its gas station/travel center/retail site/food operation and has a cult following. The founder and owner of Buc-ee’s, Arch Aplin III, said that they have had quite a lot of success in the two stores they have operating on I-95 and have been looking for the right piece of property for a new location. The new interchange in Ocala presented an opportunity for Buc-ee’s to expand further, and Aplin said that it “really opened our [their] eyes for the opportunities here.”[5]

The opening of the new Buc-ee’s location has been tied to the completion of the interchange, which is expected to be completed sometime in 2025.[0] DeSantis said that the interchange will also assist the World Equestrian Center in Ocala and further establish the city as a strategic Central Florida hub for freight-related traffic.[0] The governor expressed his excitement for the new project, calling the new Buc-ee’s location “massive” and “the Shangri-La of service stations” with its extensive product offerings, including beaver nuggets and barbecue.

The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund has been proposed to receive $25 million from the House and $75 million from the Senate in the 2023-2024 fiscal year budgets. The fund received $50 million in the current 2022-2023 fiscal year, and DeSantis has requested $100 million for 2023-2024.[0] DeSantis said that making strategic investments like the $4 million Job Growth Grant Fund Award will continue to fuel economic growth across the state and create new opportunities for Floridians, businesses, and communities in Central Florida.[6]

0. “DeSantis seeks to speed interchange project” The West Volusia Beacon, 7 Apr. 2023,

1. “Buc-ee’s to open third Florida location in Ocala, Gov. DeSantis announces” WJXT News4JAX , 7 Apr. 2023,

2. “Attention travelers: 3rd Buc-ee’s coming to Florida” WPLG Local 10, 7 Apr. 2023,

3. “Governor Ron DeSantis awards $4 Million for new I-75 interchange in Ocala, announces third Buc-ee’s location in Florida” Alachua Chronicle, 7 Apr. 2023,

4. “State grant will help with I-75 interchange at NW 49th St. in Ocala” Ocala, 7 Apr. 2023,

5. “Gov. DeSantis sends $4M to jump-start I-75 interchange project” Florida Politics, 7 Apr. 2023,

6. “Gov. DeSantis announces new highway interchange to support new Florida Buc-ee’s location” FOX 35 Orlando, 7 Apr. 2023,

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