Dear Mr. Samuel,
In response to your recent article titled “On the Wiregrass Turnpike controversy - critics seize on our not-for-profit comment."
One of your comments (quote) "One county located on I-10 shouldn't be able to deny more remote counties high standard connections to the modern road network with a selfish "What's in it for us?"
I would like to respond by simply saying that I am outraged and extremely insulted regarding you comments about small (counties) towns.
Tampa Hillsboro Expressway Authority (THEA) has called off negotiations with Plenary, the preferred concessionaire to develop a 5km (3 mile) North Tampa East-West Road (NTEWR). THEA exec director Joe Waggoner says in a letter to the Vancouver BC company that their toll rates and a proposed 60 year concession term are "not acceptable."
Former Orlando tollroad chair Allen Keen has been cleared by the Florida state ethics commission of all public corruption charges except putting $2600 of theme park tickets for friends on the toll authority. Keen, a land and real state developer, was variously accused during a tumultuous several years of:
- using inside information about the routing of new tollroads to make advantageous land transactions
It's hard slogging for promoters of a spur tollroad off I-10 in the Florida panhandle to the Wiregrass region of southeast Alabama. This week in Washington County Florida where it was planned to connect with I-10, county commissioners voted 3 to 2 against support for the project.
There's much sound and fury surrounding the proposed road and finger wagging about the secrecy of the promoters, and the "lack of information."
Eight firms submitted qualifications in the first stage of a longterm lease of the 125km (78 mile) I-75 east-west tollroad from the Miami area to Naples Florida.
The eight are:
- Atlantia (formerly Autostada) & ETC
The Jacksonville Florida Outer Beltway concession procurement is being held up pending study by Florida DOT lawyers of the consequences of a tax case against Sebring Airport Authority and Sebring Raceway. The state Supreme Court found in April 2001 that a law granting tax exempt status was unconstitutional.
Here is the 13 page Court ruling:
A bombastic and one-sided opinion by an appeals court judge has got toll authorities in central Florida some hellish publicity in the local media. Judge John D Galluzo of the 18th Circuit (Seminole and Brevard counties) has dismissed all sixteen unpaid tolls and violation penalties against a firefighter Christopher Baird.
What seemed a corruption scandal over payments of more than $100k to an anti-toll activist and a huge fight with the Orlando toll authority's PR man have fizzled away to nothing. The toll authority this week voted 3 to 1 to settle for $8,320 an 18 month old legal fight with PR guy Ron Pecora.
A toll collector was arrested for stealing tolls yesterday at the Leesburg mainline plaza in Lake County Florida. Seerajn Dhoray, 58, an employee of Faneuil Group, toll collection contractor to Florida's Turnpike, was charged with "grand theft" (see comment below) following two weeks in which his thievery was observed.
Florida DOT will be holding an industry forum in late April in Orlando to explore "monetization, including leasing" of Alligator Alley. Alligator Alley is the nickname adopted as a real name for the east-west highway on the southern end of I-75 - a 125km (78 mile) 2+2 lane expressway that runs from the northwestern suburbs of metropolitan Miami due west across the peninsula to Naples on the Gulf coast.