A proposal in the Florida House would permit private
companies to partner with the state on roadway projects.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ron Reagan, R-Bradenton, told The
Miami Herald the provision would help facilitate projects – such as
“reversible lane” toll roads – that let drivers pay a premium to use special
lanes to bypass congestion.
Giving private companies authority to add onto Florida’s
highways isn’t a new concept. The state passed a law in 1991 allowing them to
construct toll roads or passenger rail services that would help alleviate
highway backups, although the state Transportation Department kept some oversight
for those projects.
And although several companies have expressed interest in
projects, the provision hasn’t been used, Reagan said.
His bill – H1027 – authorizes FDOT to form partnerships with
companies interested in building or adding to roads. The agency would supply
some of the necessary resources to make the projects work, the newspaper
The contract with private industry would likely add to the
number of lanes across the state while allowing companies to collect tolls to
pay off their investment.
In Miami, for example, the Toll Road Corp. of America has
inquired about adding a reversible lane system that would add toll lanes in the
median of Interstate 95. Drivers willing to pay could use the lanes, which
would have reversible directions depending on rush hour traffic patterns.
Under the bill moving through the state House of
Representatives, the roads would have to fall within FDOT’s existing five-year