Company asks to build private toll road in Pasco - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Company asks to build private toll road in Pasco

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PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

A crowded corridor in Pasco County could get a new highway. But the state isn't talking about building this one. A private company is asking for permission to create and run the road.

"There's none in the state of Florida right now, but I think that's the wave of the future," said Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kris Carson. "If it would come to fruition, it would be the first in the state of Florida to have an elevated expressway that would be completely designed, constructed, operated, and maintained by a private company."

Carson says the Florida DOT got an unsolicited bid to build the privately run toll road to ease congestion in south Pasco County. It would run along State Roads 54 and 56.

"There would be no cost to the tax payers, which is very intriguing to DOT," she explained.

The proposed highway would eventually link Interstate-75, US Highway 301 and the Suncoast Parkway. International Infrastructure Partners LLC would buy or lease the right of way from the state, which means taxpayers would only pay for the new highway if they choose to use it and pay tolls.

"If it was something that the state was paying for, I think I'd be a little more reluctant. But because it's an outside company and the funds would be dependent on us taking it, it makes it easier," said Land O' Lakes resident Ashley Valarezo.

Carson said since the state got one bid, it's now open to other offers.

"The law requires that we put out a request for proposal to see if there are other firms out there that have the same idea and what they would charge DOT or what they would pay us for the right of way," explained Carson.

Companies have until Oct. 23 to submit proposals. A decision is expected in November. Carson said before any plans are approved, the state would conduct environmental studies and ask for public feedback.

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