MetroPlan Orlando Board Endorses Wekiva Parkway Financing Plan
Regional transportation board supports building the Wekiva Parkway to complete the beltway around Central Florida.
The MetroPlan Orlando board endorsed the Wekiva Parkway financing plan at its meeting today, marking the first approval of the plan. Next, it will be reviewed by the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority.
“Wekiva Parkway completes the last segment of Central Florida’s beltway and will have an immense impact on our region’s transportation system for the better,” said MetroPlan Orlando Chairman and Seminole County Commissioner Bob Dallari. “The financing plan brings a significant fiscal impact to our region with only slight delays to our five-year plan. The Wekiva Parkway will fuel the economy and create jobs for years to come.”
The nearly $1.7 billion project builds 25 miles of new toll expressway through Orange, Seminole, and Lake counties. It also constructs several miles of non-toll road improvements, including: 1) construction of seven miles of 4-lane and 6-lane portions of SR 46, 2) reconstruction of the US 441/SR 46 interchange in Mount Dora, and 3) relocation of CR 46A to provide improved wildlife connectivity and local road system benefits. If the project receives all necessary approvals, construction could begin by fall 2012 and conclude in 2021.
“The Wekiva Parkway financing plan is a unique partnership between the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, and the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority,” said MetroPlan Orlando Executive Director Harry Barley. “We appreciate the hard work of our partners to find a way to fund this important regional project. A tremendous amount of effort has been exerted by many people over the past decade to bring this project to life.”
The MetroPlan Orlando board had an extensive discussion of regional impacts prior to approving the financing plan. Though building Wekiva Parkway will likely result in delaying other important projects in the three-county area, the board ultimately felt the benefits to the region far outweighed the costs. The board recommended that any savings realized from low bids on Wekiva Parkway be invested in the delayed projects where possible.