ST PETERSBURG, Fla. - A day after 10Investigates detailed how tolls collected on Florida’s paid-off toll roads were going to build even more toll roads, Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum responded that “more toll roads are not the answer to how we fix the traffic and congestion problem.”
Gillum made the comments on a Facebook Live video after 10Investigates reached out to spokespersons for both Gillum and his Republican opponent, Ron DeSantis.
“We are not going to be able to asphalt our way out of congestion,” Gillum added, suggesting rail and transit must also be part of Florida’s traffic solutions.
10Investigates’ story showed how FDOT has used toll revenues, which have surged by 67 percent under Governor Scott’s tenure, to bond new road projects, many of which will have tolls themselves. New Tampa-area toll lanes are also planned or proposed for I-275, I-4, and even the next new span of the Howard Frankland bridge.
A DeSantis spokesperson has not yet responded to a pair of requests for comment on toll road expansion, and his campaign website doesn't appear to mention transportation at all.
But DeSantis told 10News before the primary that trains are not “the answer” to congestion, and “Florida has been built around the automobile… we’re basically an automobile-centered society.”
He also told the Tampa Bay Times earlier this month Florida needs to build more roads and “it could be a mixture of tolls and non-tolls. At the end of the day, I'm open to other ways to move people around, but I just have not seen a lot of proposals that I think would appreciably reduce traffic.”
The Florida Turnpike Enterprise's list of planned road expansions includes projects in all corners of the state; some larger than others.
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