Jimmy Buffett performs in Gulf Shores, Alabama, on June 30, 2010. | Dave Martin, APJimmy Buffett performs in Gulf Shores, Alabama, on June 30, 2010. | Dave Martin, AP
Jimmy Buffett performs in Gulf Shores, Alabama, on June 30, 2010. | Dave Martin, AP

Jimmy Buffett highway will run through Northeast Florida

Published on June 28, 2024 at 9:41 am

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed bills that will honor the late singer Jimmy Buffett, designating State Road A1A as “Jimmy Buffett Memorial Highway” and creating a “Margaritaville” specialty license plate.

The highway bill (HB 91), which lawmakers passed unanimously during the legislative session that ended in March, will attach Buffett’s name to A1A from Key West to the Georgia border.

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“With this road naming, we are paying tribute to Jimmy not only as a musical icon, but also a fierce protector of Florida’s natural treasures and our precious manatees,” Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, a Davie Democrat who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, said in a statement.

The other bill (HB 403) will make changes to the state’s specialty license plate program and create a series of potential new plates, including one displaying the name of the Buffett song Margaritaville.

Buffett died Sept. 1 at age 76 of a type of skin cancer.

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Born in Mississippi, his brand became synonymous with the Florida Keys.

In his 1994 song Everybody’s Got a Cousin in Miami, Buffett waxed “I am umbilically connected to the temperate zone/ It brought me life, it brought me love/ I never have outgrown.”

Twenty years earlier, he released an album called “A1A,” which featured several nautical-themed songs, including a concert favorite, A Pirate Looks at Forty.

Proceeds from the sale of the Margaritaville license plate are slated to benefit the SFC Charitable Foundation, also known as Singing for Change, which Buffett founded.

Margaritaville was Buffett’s highest charting solo single from his 1977 album Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.

The state tourism-market agency Visit Florida promotes online Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant in Key West, saying “once only a state of mind is now a state of being.”

Buffett is already associated with the state’s Save the Manatee license plate, which is the seventh most-popular specialty plate. It benefits the Save the Manatee Club, which Buffett helped establish in the 1980s with the late Gov. Bob Graham.

As with most specialty plates, the Margaritaville plate must reach 3,000 presales before it can go into production and must maintain that number year after year.

Other new plates that will be offered for presale are Clearwater Marine Aquarium; general aviation; The Villages; Cure Diabetes; Recycle Florida; Boating Capital of the World; Project Addiction: Reversing the Stigma; and Service Organizations.

The bill, which will take effect Oct. 1, also will change the designs of several plates already on the road and exempt Florida college license plates from the 3,000 minimum-sale requirement. The bill also will allow the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to reauthorize discontinued collegiate license plates.

The state’s specialty tag program offers 113 different designs, with 30 more in presale.

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