One (1) year ago Kaire & Heffernan started a petition in hopes that the DOT would address the safety issues on the 1-95 express lanes. Despite thousands of accidents, hundreds of injuries, and multiple fatalities the DOT insisted the express lanes were safe, and blamed the accidents on aggressive drivers. Their plan was to install sturdier poles and to place the poles closer together. We detailed the proposal in September and opined it would not work-It has not.
Sen. Frank Artiles has proposed Senate bill 250. The bill seeks to ban express lanes statewide. See the bill below:
A bill to be entitled An act relating to high-occupancy toll lanes or
express lanes; amending s. 338.166, F.S.; specifying that the Department of Transportation may only collect tolls on high-occupancy toll lanes or express lanes for the discharge of certain bond indebtedness on a project existing before a specified date; requiring that the tolls be eliminated after discharge of the project’s bond indebtedness; prohibiting the creation of high-occupancy toll lanes or express lanes on or after a specified date; requiring existing lanes to no longer be high-occupancy toll lanes or express lanes upon elimination of their tolls; providing an effective date.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.
The proposed bill would leave the lanes in effect until, the state pays the bond debts from existing express lanes. Once those debts are paid off, the lanes would have to be converted back to standard lanes.
While I am hopeful the Florida legislature will do the right thing, I am mindful of the fact that there is way too much money at stake. Thus, if the lanes are not eliminated entirely, the plan we proposed last year of reducing the toll lanes from two(2) to one (1), would be an ideal solution. The lane reduction would allow for a shoulder, as well as for the placement of permanent barriers.