Byline: LARRY HANNAN
Jacksonville motorists will now be able to drive one for The Gipper.
Today, the state officially designates Florida 9A as Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway.
This creates another roadway in Florida bearing the name of the 40th president. You can now take the Ronald Reagan Turnpike, Reagan Avenue in Miami, as well as Ronald Reagan Boulevard in Seminole County and two separate Ronald Reagan parkways, in Hillsborough and Polk counties.
The Times-Union asked about Reagan tributes and his legacy:
Will we now be calling Florida 9A the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway?
Actually, Florida 9A will become part of Interstate 295 next year. Ronald Reagan Highway is a purely honorary designation, and people aren't expected to call it Reagan Highway. Almost no one calls the Florida Turnpike the Reagan Turnpike.
Why is Florida 9A getting this honorary designation?
State Rep. Ronald "Doc" Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, sponsored legislation during the 2009 legislative session giving Florida 9A this designation. Renuart said the idea came to him from some constituents who said Florida 9A seemed like a good road to honor Reagan because the roadway plans were first drawn up when Reagan was president.
The Legislature loses the ability to put honorary designations on roads when the federal government takes over a road. By granting the designation now, it will remain in place when 9A becomes I-295.
Why are so many roads being named after Reagan?
The driving force behind naming things after Reagan comes from Americans For Tax Reform, a Washington conservative advocacy group that supports lower taxes and was founded by Grover Norquist in the 1980s to support Reagan's tax cuts. In the '90s the group formed the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, dedicated to renaming public landmarks after Reagan. Officials with the Reagan Legacy Project said more than 100 landmarks in 28 states and 13 countries have been named after Reagan.
But why Reagan?
Norquist said naming so many thing after Reagan is appropriate because he was primarily responsible for winning the Cold War and establishing the conservative movement. …