State senator from Miami calls for elimination of express lanes

TALLAHASSEE (WSVN) — One Miami lawmaker wants to get rid of express lanes on the state’s highways.

Republican state Senator Frank Artiles filed a bill Thursday, calling for the elimination of high-occupancy lane tolls as well as prohibiting any more express lanes from being built.

“In Miami-Dade County, there have been more than 12,000 reported accidents in the express lanes over the past three years,” Sen. Artiles said in a press release. “Highway express lanes are unsafe, inefficient, and add an unnecessary burden for all users, as the numbers clearly show.”

Sen. Artiles cited Florida Highway Patrol statistics, saying many of the accidents involved drivers crossing over the orange dividing poles, with more than 60 of those crashes causing serious injuries or deaths.

He pointed out that the FDOT spends more than $1 million per year replacing or repairing the dividing poles.

Senate Bill 250 specifies that the state’s Department of Transportation may only collect tolls on HOV toll lanes or express lanes untill bond debts from their construction projects have been collected. Once those debts have been paid off, the bill calls for the elimination of tolls on those roads.

Artiles’ bill also says additional express lanes cannot be created after July 1, 2017, and says existing lanes should not be used for HOV or express lane purposes.

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