FDOT considering adding express lanes to I-95

Twenty-six years ago, Duval County voters said “no” to toll roads in Jacksonville. But, with recent moves by the Florida Department of Transportation, that could change very soon.

FDOT held an open house Thursday looking for feedback on the newest proposed express lane on I-95 stretching from International Golf Parkway to I-295.

Two additional express lane projects are already being discussed. None of the projects would take away lanes but will instead and lanes for those who are willing to pay.

“This is definitely not a toll road,” Stephen Browning, interchange review coordinator for FDOT said. “You’ll still have the option of the general use lanes which will remain free.”

Still, the project will be paid for with tax payer money like any typical road project. Maintenance will be paid for using money made from drivers on the express way.

The decision won’t belong to Duval voters, though, something the political action committee Drivers Ready to Improve, Vote and Empower (D.R.I.V.E) is trying to change.

DRIVE – based out of Miami – needs 700,000 petition signatures from Florida residents to make toll roads and express way projects a balloted subject.

“Miami-Dade County has been used as a guinea pig to test how far (FDOT) can push drivers, and push residents, and how high they can push the tolls without any major backlash,” Chair of the DRIVE PAC Chris Wills told WOKV. “That’s what’s coming to Jacksonville.”

Wills, and a report from the Sun-Sentinel, say higher tolls are not reducing traffic in the county.

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