Suncoast Parkway plan whips up both support and criticism

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -- A plan involving a new toll road through North Central Florida is now at the governor's desk.

One of the three proposed highways would connect Southwest Florida to Lakeland.

Another would extend the Suncoast Parkway from Citrus County to the Georgia line, and the other would extend the north end of the Florida Turnpike to the Suncoast Parkway.

Environmentalists worry it will hurt wildlife, but supporters say the state has to prepare for the future.

Democratic Representative Wengay Newton from St. Petersburg thinks that it is important "to make sure we've got the capacity to get people out of harms way when imminent danger is upon us. As you saw with Irma and when we reversed all the lanes going north on I-75, it was a parking lot. So it's important we have other options."

Funding for the project will grow from $35,000,000 this year to $140,000,000 a year in four years.

A feasibility study is due next year.