Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Transportation

FDOT says no to private toll road in Pasco County

The Department of Transportation is officially passing on a private company's plan to build a toll road in south Pasco County.

In an announcement released Sunday to a citizen's group spearheading opposition to the proposed road, the department said it had "rejected the unsolicited proposal from International Infrastructure Partners, LLC." It included leasing state right-of-way along state roads 54 and 56 to build and operate the road.

A private consortium that included International Infrastructure, a Spanish road building company, proposed the elevated toll road last summer from U.S. 19 to U.S. 301.

But the 33-mile project, which would have represented Florida's first privately funded and operated toll road, drew harsh criticism from south Pasco residents.

A group called Pasco Fiasco crowded town hall meetings and sent emails to Pasco County commissioners in recent months urging the project's rejection by local officials.

The FDOT started evaluating the project in January. FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad said at the outset that if Pasco did not support the project the department would not approve it.

Last week, FDOT announced it was leaning against the project, calling it "unfeasible," and said it was surprised when the consortium known as FL Express 54 requested public funds to go toward the road. Still, the department left the door open to last-minute talks to resolve differences.

Sunday's announcement, however, seems to end any chance of the project moving forward.

"The department was unable to reach an agreement with International Infrastructure Partners, LLC on a framework of financing and various design concepts for the corridor that would be acceptable to all parties and address the concerns of the local community," Prasad said. "In absence of this framework, advancing this project would not make any sense."

Comments
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