Hillsborough leaders vote to move Tampa Bay Next plan forward

The five-year Tampa Bay Next plan will add 90 miles of toll lanes to the area's interstates.

TAMPA, Fla. – Leaders with the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization voted on Tuesday to move forward with funding for a controversial plan that could add dozens of miles of toll lanes to interstates 4, 75 and 275.

The MPO board approved the plan by a 12-3 vote, despite hearing 3.5 hours of public comment from people opposing the plan.

In addition to possible toll lanes, millions of dollars will go towards rebuilding the Howard Frankland Bridge. The Bay’s most-traveled bridge is nearing the end of its lifespan and will soon be structurally deficient.

Video: Tampa Bay Next plan

Beverly Ward, an independent consultant and transportation expert, says if FDOT expands the interstate, it will do irreparable damage to the city's urban core, and will disproportionately impact minority and low-income communities nearby.

However, FDOT spokesperson Kris Carson says Tampa Bay desperately needs a solution to its traffic woes. She says FDOT will work closely with residents to minimize any negative impacts on the community.

Go to Tampa Bay Next’s website for more information.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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