Florida Senate President calls for extending Suncoast toll road to Georgia

Florida’s new Senate president announced Wednesday that one of his top priorities this year is pushing legislation to extend the lightly traveled Suncoast Parkway to the Georgia state line.

Rather than contending the extension would resolve a traffic problem or improve hurricane evacuation times, Sen. Bill Galvano’s argument for extending the toll road beyond its current Citrus County terminus is strictly economic.

“I believe it’s a good idea,” said Galvano, R-Bradenton, during a Wednesday news conference. “We need access to our rural communities. We need to improve access so prosperity can return there.”

But leaders in several of the counties that lie in the extended Suncoast’s path have made it clear they want no toll roads slicing through their rural areas and destroying farms that have been in the same families for generations. And the existing Suncoast has been a consistent money-loser, repeatedly falling short of revenue projections.