BRADENTON, Fla. - The Florida Department of Transportation axed a proposal for developers to finance, design, and build the state's first privately operated tolled expressway.
The proposed 33-mile-long toll road north of Tampa in south Pasco County, originally suggested to the FDOT in an unsolicited proposal, was estimated to cost $2 billion and would have required "a significant public investment," according to the Tampa Tribune.
The route, now served by the largely six-lane State Roads 54 and 56, is a congested corridor in north Tampa Bay that has been studied for the addition of managed lanes.
Gerald Stanley, a partner at International Infrastructure Partners LLC, submitted the proposal last year to build an elevated toll road. Stanley's company partnered with the Spanish firm OHL Infrastructure to negotiate leasing FDOT right of way.
According to the Tribune, the firms unveiled a requirement for public assistance at a May 1 bidders meeting with state officials. The terms of the assistance were not released to the public.
When the requirement was made known to state officials, "I was shut off," State Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad told the paper. "If that's the case, then it's probably better to hit the reset button."
Over the weekend of May 10-11, Prasad released a statement saying that DOT was unable to reach an agreement "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."
Without an agreement "advancing this project would not make any sense," he said.
The project had drawn considerable opposition from residents in the area.