FDOT project needs to buy out 100 properties

Posted at 5:40 PM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 17:40:59-05

New toll lanes, new problems.

Right now, there’s not enough room for the $3 billion Tampa Bay Express lanes planned along I-275 and I-4.

So, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is buying properties --100 in total.

Now, Tampa Heights business owner Jordan Miller is showing the toll that the lanes are taking on the community.

He’s organizing a bike ride this weekend.

Street by street, he will reveal a handful of the homes and businesses FDOT plans to buy and eventually tear down.

“This is Mobley Park Apartments. Two hundred plus families are going to be displaced. They are going to move somewhere, and it’s definitely not going to be in Tampa Heights. There’s not room for something like this anywhere else,” said Miller.

FDOT has not bought the apartments yet, but plants to. They’ve been sending out letters to residents, but not everyone is in the know.

“I think it's a travesty because, number one, they didn't really kind of inform us. There is no kind of informing us that this was going on,” said resident Gerron Overstreet.

The owner of Café Hey said he knows his building along I-275 may be purchased, but doesn’t know when.

“As much as I think we came make a difference in fighting it, if that does not come to a positive outcome for me, I have to be ready for that,” said Cheong Choy.

On the other hand, Charley’s Steakhouse along the interstate is ready, operating on a lease until the demolition day is set.

Right now, FDOT doesn’t have all the money for the project. Still, it plans to start construction in five to 10 years.

The express lanes promise to keep traffic moving, but Miller promises he won’t be taking them.

“(Paying) $2 a mile at a maximum is insane. That's a tax," said MIller. "That's a tax to drive; in my opinion that's unreasonable."

Click here more information on the express lanes project