SARASOTA (WWSB) -On Wednesday, the Florida Senate is planning to approve a plan that would build or expand three toll roads in the state.
The proposal would require the Florida Department of Transportation to set up task forces to study economic and environmental impacts of extending the Suncoast Parkway as well as building a new transportation corridor.
This includes a toll road, from Polk to Collier County. Senate bill sponsor Tom Lee says the roads will help rural communities, provide new hurricane-evacuation options, and address the state’s continued rapid growth.
“The sheer growth of our state, and the fact that the I-75 and I-4 corridors are becoming unnavigable at times, just because of the congestion,” Lee said.
Several environmental groups are fighting the measure, saying the project would lead to urban sprawl, harmful wildlife impacts and create water pollution resulting from paving large stretches of rural lands.
The project would cost 45 million dollars next year, 90 million the following years and 135 million dollars annually for another decade if it is approved.
The Florida House of Representatives is waiting for the Senate to advance the bill before acting on its version of the proposal.