Florida transportation bill opens the door to toll roads

| 4/19/2002

In the closing days of Florida's regular session, Gov. Jeb Bush signed the state's extensive state transportation bill into law. The measure included legislation designed to make it easier for toll roads to be built throughout the state.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, a provision creates a "Florida Turnpike Enterprise," a division of the state Department of Transportation that would be free of many bureaucratic rules.

The new agency would be able to develop hotels and convention centers, towing services and other commercial ventures along state turnpikes, using the money to build new roads. It increases the amount of time a toll road has to clear its bond debt from five to 12 years and to become a self-supporting entity from 10 to 22 years.

Critics of the Enterprise say the law will allow the state to use turnpike revenue to build in rural areas and promote more urban sprawl.