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New toll road could be coming to the Big Bend

Proposals outline construction would start by end of 2022
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Posted at 6:19 PM, Apr 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 18:32:02-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Could a new toll road be coming to Florida's Big Bend?

Lawmakers are looking at three new roads that would connect or expand current highways around the state.

One of the roads is called the Suncoast Connector.

It would stretch from the Tampa Bay area to the Florida-Georgia border.

There's no exact route mapped out, but the legislation states the connector would end in Jefferson County.

It's possible the toll road would come through Taylor County as well.

One of the other proposals would expand the Florida Turnpike from I-75 to the Suncoast Parkway.

Advocates say the new infrastructure would bring economic development to communities along these routes.

A nonprofit called 1000 Friends of Florida says that's a myth.

"These roads are being touted as big job supporters or job engines. Anybody who's driven from Jacksonville to Pensacola on I-10 knows that building new roads like this doesn't stimulate the local economy," said Thomas Hawkins, Policy and Planning Director for 1000 Friends of Florida. "It just allows folks to pass through. We think there's a lot of other options in Florida for transportation solutions that we need."

The proposals outline that construction would start by the end of 2022 and that the roads would be open by the end of 2030.

1000 Friends of Florida will host a free webinar next week. Click here for more information.