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Report Describes State Toll Roads Plan As “Expensive, Damaging and Wasteful”

Florida Panther

Photo courtesy National Audubon Society

A new report names a state plan to build some 330 miles of new toll roads through rural Florida as one of seven so-called “highway boondoggles” nationwide. 

The toll roads will stretch from Collier County to Polk County, from Citrus County to Jefferson County and from the northern end of the Florida Turnpike to the Suncoast Parkway.

The report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group describes the plan as “one of the most expensive, damaging and wasteful highway-building sprees in the country.” 

The highways are aimed at helping with hurricane evacuations and alleviating congestion. 

But the report says that instead the highways are draining the state budget, as toll revenue may not be enough to cover their multi-billion dollar construction. 

The report also says a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist has raised alarm that one of the highways through southwest Florida could jeopardize the endangered Florida panther. 

The report calls instead for investment in public transportation and repairs to existing infrastructure. 

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »