3 major Florida highways envisioned in legislative bills

Posted at 4:40 PM, Mar 28, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Three major highways could be created in mostly rural areas of Florida under legislation approved by a House panel and also moving in the Senate.

The House Appropriations transportation and tourism panel voted 9-3 Thursday for its bill, a top priority of Republican Senate President Bill Galvano of Bradenton. The measure sets aside money and sets up studies for potential highways between Polk and Collier counties, Citrus and Jefferson counties and a westward extension of Florida's Turnpike from Wildwood.

Supporters say the highways would alleviate congestion, create jobs, provide hurricane evacuation routes and enable tourists to get around the state more easily. Skeptics worry about the impacts on the environment and wildlife and the possibility of more urban sprawl.

Studies are due next June. Construction could begin before December 2022.