Toll road revamp emerges in Florida House

The House Appropriations Committee is slated Friday to take up a Senate plan that would largely scuttle a 2019 law that called for three controversial toll-road projects.

The Senate passed the plan (SB 100) on March 25, but the House had not moved forward on it.

The 2019 law, a priority of then-Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, called for building a toll road from Collier County to Polk County; extending Florida’s Turnpike to connect with the Suncoast Parkway, and extending the Suncoast Parkway from Citrus County to Jefferson County.

But the new plan would eliminate the toll road from Collier County to Polk County, while requiring plans to extend the turnpike west from Wildwood to the Suncoast Parkway. It also would lay out a route that would weave the Suncoast Parkway north along U.S. 19 to connect with Interstate 10 in Madison County.

Senate Transportation Chairwoman Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, said last month the COVID-19 pandemic has required a reevaluation of state priorities and that the plan draws upon the recommendations of task forces that looked at the road projects last year.