BRADENTON, Fla. — The Southwest Florida Expressway Authority had the potential to issue hundreds of millions in bonds for a toll-road project that was once estimated to cost nearly $1 billion.

Five years ago planning for the project got underway because traffic was snarled at peak times along a 26-mile-long stretch of Interstate 75 between Fort Myers and Naples — a main route from Lee County to Collier County for workers, residents, and tourists in one of the fastest-growing regions in the country.

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