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Lawmaker requests FDOT Secretary to appear at legislative meeting to explain construction delays

I-Team investigation showed most recent Tampa Bay projects delayed by 41 years
Posted at 8:12 PM, May 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-02 11:46:12-04

An I-Team investigation into a troubling system of road project delays is now sparking action from state lawmakers.

State Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, sent a letter to FDOT Secretary Kevin Thibault and other lawmakers this week demanding answers about highway construction project delays. The call for action comes after an ABC Action News investigation uncovered the state added thousands of extra days to recent projects.

RELATED: State Senator calls on FDOT to explain thousands of added project days

“This seems to be excessive and it begs the question, ‘Why?’” Rouson told Investigator Adam Walser just days after an I-Team investigation revealed a pattern of delays.

Rouson is putting FDOT Secretary Thibault on notice that he needs to explain why the agency awarded so many weather days to contractors, allowing them to push off the completion of road projects without facing fines for the delays.

In the letter, Rouson describes meeting with regional FDOT officials, who he says "admitted that they could do better when it comes to auditing and monitoring contract and permitted weather days," according to the letter.

“It's up to us to hold them accountable," Rouson told I-Team Investigator Adam Walser. "The public is tired of delays.”

Last month, the I-Team uncovered FDOT added 15,050 -- or about 41 years -- to the latest Tampa Bay area road projects.

I-TEAM INVESTIGATIONS | Our latest investigations

Sen. Rouson said FDOT bosses now tell him they are committed to finding ways to reduce road project delays.

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