BRADENTON, Fla. - The Florida Department of Transportation on Monday began seeking qualifications from firms interested in leasing the 78-mile-long Alligator Alley toll road that crosses the southern part of the state from Collier County on the west coast to Broward County on the east coast.

The state road agency expects to enter into a concession agreement through a public-private partnership to lease the road, which is part of Interstate 75, in return for an upfront payment and a portion of excess toll revenues over the life of the concession agreement, which will be between 50 and 75 years.

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