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Florida lawmakers pass bill to create 3 new toll roads

Measure heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis' desk

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida could build three new major toll highways under a bill sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis by the state House.

The bill passed Wednesday on 76-36 vote. It calls for three highways to spur job growth in rural areas, relieve congestion on Interstates 75 and 4 and provide new hurricane evacuation routes.

One would connect Collier County in the southwest to Lakeland, located between Tampa and Orlando. Another would extend the Suncoast Parkway from Citrus County to Jefferson County, which borders Georgia. The other would extend from the north end of the Florida Turnpike to the Suncoast Parkway.

Opponents said a commitment to the roads should await studies on whether they will harm to wetlands and wildlife and spur urban sprawl.

Senate President Bill Galvano made the highways a priority.