Toll roads possibly coming to NCFL

Published: May. 20, 2019 at 6:52 PM EDT
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A new bill signed by Governor Ron DeSantis could soon bring new freeways to the state.

This includes adding more toll roads to Florida's highway system.

Senate bill 7068 will fund a study to expand the Suncoast Parkway from Tampa Bay to the Georgia state line.

It would also expand the Florida Turnpike west to connect with the Suncoast Parkway and would create a new multi-use corridor to include a toll road from Polk County to Collier County.

Policy and Planning director with 1,000 Friends of Florida, Thomas Hawkins said he's concerned about the disruption of wildlife during construction.

"A road if it's going to get from here to there and there are wetlands and environmental resources in the way, it's going to have to go through those and it's going to damage those in the process,” Hawkins said.

He added there's also an economic impact to cities and towns when a new road system is put into place.

"Growth pattern in the community will leave their downtowns and go towards these toll expressways, which means a lot of negative things, one we're going to have a different kind of growth development partners that's more intensive on environmental resources and it also hurts the characteristics of those communities,” he added.

The newly signed bill may bring a new freeway through Levy County.

Many of those who we spoke with about the new addition said it's a bad idea.

"Personally, I think it's a terrible idea. It will ruin the rural nature of our community. One of the reasons I came here 40 years ago was exactly to get out of Tampa and the chaos that goes with that, so I am totally not in favor of it,” Williston business owner ken Schwiebert said.

But some in the community think the road is necessary.

"I think it is necessary, I just hope that they take a route that's already has a throughway like state road 40,” Resident Niurca gloria said.

The Florida Department of Transportation will soon begin construction on these new projects in the next three years.