Protesters demonstrate against bill for new toll roads in Florida

Protesters say expansion of new traffic corridors would harm environment

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Protests are being held Tuesday targeting Florida's roads. Demonstrators are upset over legislation aimed at creating new toll roads in the state. 

About two dozen people gathered in Hollywood Tuesday morning to implore Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto two bills, one of which they said would impact our environment in negative ways.

The news conference was hosted by the Sierra Club, an environmental organization, and several other activists and attorneys were in attendance to talk about two bills that are sitting on DeSantis' desk right now: House Bill 7103, which deals with property development, and Senate Bill 7068, which seeks to expand toll roads in Florida. 

The toll roads include extending the Suncoast Parkway north to the Georgia line, paving Florida's Turnpike west to connect with the Suncoast Parkway, along with a new toll road connecting Collier County to Polk County. 

The protesters said they're concerned that the expansion of the new traffic corridors will tear apart rural parts of Florida, create urban development in areas where there is little population and endanger the environment. 

"They pave over, they bisect forests, rivers, habitats, and it's like we haven't learned a single lesson. At a time when the rest of the world is starting to invest in mass transit, the Florida Legislature decided it was a good idea to spend billions of dollars building new highways that are in places where we don't have a lot of people living in already," attorney Richard Grosso said.   

Two more rallies are set to take place -- one in St. Petersburg later Tuesday and another on Wednesday in Gainesville. 

About the Author:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.