Florida plan to raise cash would call for 50-year leases

Officials consider selling leases on state toll roads and bridges

News The Associated Press November 26, 2007
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With a $2.5 billion road construction budget shortfall over the next two years, stemming from challenges such as declining gasoline tax and higher costs, Florida finds itself needing a solution—and it may have found it with a new plan calling for 50-year leases on state toll roads and bridges.

State officials are contemplating selling the leases on Alligator Alley and other state toll roads and bridges in exchange for large sums of money from private investors.

In a preliminary study, the Florida Department of Transportation estimated a 50-year lease on Tampa's Sunshine Skyway Bridge could bring in $1.3 billion if investors were allowed to set tolls at “market rates.” Alligator Alley—I-75 from West Broward to Naples—could be worth $1.3 billion as well.

Florida would follow in the path of other areas, including Indiana, Chicago and San Francisco, which have made billions from similar deals to sell road leases to private investors.

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