TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida will begin planning three new major toll highways through mostly rural areas under a bill signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis signed the bill Friday despite objections raised by environmentalists. The legislation was Republican Senate President Bill Galvano's top priority.
Galvano wants the 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.
Task forces would be formed to examine each highway with the goal of beginning construction before Dec. 31, 2022. That means the roads could be opened by Dec. 31, 2030.