Governor Signs Toll Roads Bill Backed By The Florida Trucking Association
Tallahassee, Florida – On Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation that will bring new toll roads to Florida by no later than 2030.
The newly approved toll-road bill (SB 7068) will begin expansion of the Suncoast Parkway from the Tampa Bay area to the Georgia border; extend Florida’s Turnpike west to connect with the Suncoast Parkway; and add a new multi-use corridor, including a toll road, from Polk County to Collier County.
DeSantis had expressed some concern about the impact new toll roads would have on working class Floridians, but decided to support the legislation which also won strong support in the Florida state legislature.
On Friday morning at a separate bill signing, DeSantis indicated he would sign SB 7068 and said this may just be the beginning.
“We’re probably going to need more than that, just given how our state is growing and just given that traffic can be a big problem,” said DeSantis. “I’m supportive of infrastructure.”
The bill calls for construction to begin by the end of 2022 and the roads to open to traffic before Dec. 31, 2030.
It was strongly backed by the Florida Trucking Association along with other groups such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Ports Council, and the Asphalt Contractors Association of Florida.
Environmental and Conservationist groups were quick to lash out at the plan arguing it will devastate large rural and natural tracts of land.
“This decision will haunt the governor,” Sierra Club Florida Conservation Chair Tim Martin said in a statement.
Florida Senate President Bill Galvano was a fierce advocate for the bill.
Honored to join @GovRonDeSantis for the signing of SB 7068, legislation to create the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program within the FDOT. #Innovation #InfrastructureWeek https://t.co/IaQdUXnqS9 @TomLeeFL @WiltonSimpson @JoeGruters @LtGovNunez pic.twitter.com/KQ9Gjk1oeS
— Bill Galvano (@BillGalvano) May 17, 2019
In a statement, Galvano said, “This legislation is a long-term investment that will provide numerous benefits to our state infrastructure.”
The bill also creates a new task force of state and local officials for each stretch of roadway, and those task forces will make recommendations to the state.
However, transportation officials are not required to follow the recommendations.