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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sansom's friend Odom pushes toll road



Odomroad A developer closely linked to former House Speaker Ray Sansom is pushing for a new toll road to slice through a nature preserve that taxpayers spent $16.5 million to save from development.

"They couldn't have picked a worse place to put this road," said Matt Aresco, the biologist who manages the preserve.

The eight-member board in charge of building the toll road was created by the Legislature in 2005 through a bill sponsored by Sansom, R-Destin. Sansom's brief tenure as House speaker this year has led to a grand jury investigation. The toll road board's vice chairman is Jay Odom, the developer whose ties to Sansom are among the subjects now being investigated by the grand jury.

The work of the Northwest Florida Transportation Corridor Authority was close to Sansom's heart. When Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed giving the authority $3 million in 2007, Sansom told the Northwest Florida Daily News that he regarded that as "about the most important $3 million in the state budget." (See story here.)


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:28pm]


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