June 1, 2008

Wekiva Parkway

An article in the Orlando Sentinel yesterday provided a status report for the Wekiva Parkway, the missing section of a much-needed beltway in Central Florida. The route of the parkway seems to be determined, though public input will still be solicited this summer. But how to pay for the project remains a question. As the article reported, neither the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority nor Florida's Turnpike Enterprise have the bonding capacity to build the project anytime soon. Inexplicably, a third option, public-private partnership, is identified as unlikely in the article.
"Another option -- allowing private investors to build and operate the parkway -- is seen as a less likely option."

The owning and operation of toll roads has not yet happened in Florida, but it will someday. Texas is leading the nation in public-private toll projects, and Florida soon will follow. Government agencies in this state do not have the revenue flow to keep pace with growth. Sooner or later, private toll roads will be a reality. Why not start with the Wekiva Parkway. The sooner we get this road built, the better.

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