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State leaders take next steps to expand toll roads in Florida

Posted at 4:10 PM, May 13, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — State leaders are taking the next steps to expand toll roads in Florida.

The Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program within FDOT was passed in early May, before being sent to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis.

The three corridors would be:

  • Southwest-Central Florida Connector (Collier County to Polk County)
  • Suncoast Connector (Citrus County to Jefferson County)
  • Northern Turnpike Connector (northern terminus of the Florida Turnpike northwest to the Suncoast Parkway)

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Although the areas have been decided, the exact locations would be up to FDOT.

Bradenton Senator Bill Galvano has pushed for the expansion, "these new infrastructure corridors will help Florida strategically plan for future population growth, revitalize rural communities, and enhance public safety, while at the same time protecting Florida’s unique natural resources and habitats."

Sierra Club Florida held rallies in St. Petersburg, Hollywood and Gainesville at the time the bill was passed. The group is concerned about the toll roads tearing apart wetlands and rural parts of Florida.

In a press release, Senate President Galvano wrote, "each corridor task force will also consider and recommend innovative concepts to combine right-of-way acquisition with the acquisition of lands or easements to facilitate environmental mitigation, or ecosystem, wildlife habitat, or water quality protection or restoration, while balancing to the greatest extent practical that the corridor configurations, project alignment, and interchange locations are not located within conservation lands acquired under the Florida Preservation 2000 Act and the Florida Forever Program."