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National Study Criticizes Tampa Bay Toll Lanes Plan

Advocates fighting against adding toll lanes to Tampa Bay area interstates shared a new study Tuesday morning calling the project a "boondoggle" for taxpayers.

The study, produced by the non-profit United States Public Interest Research Group  and the Frontier Group, claimed the Florida Department of Transportation's Tampa Bay Express project will not relieve congestion and may push additional costs on to taxpayers.

The DOT could not be reached for comment.

Opponents said they want the DOT to instead consider funding mass transit options like rail and busses.

Creating toll road lanes on I-75, I-4 and I-275  has been estimated by the state to cost roughly $3.3 billion. But opponents said the issuance of state government bonds to fund the project may privatize potential profits.

Linda Saul-Sena is a former Tampa City Councilwoman and is against the addition of toll lanes. She said the Tampa Bay Express project is an unwise use of public money.

"As we gather the voices of the community and explain the other options available to them, they will see this is not a good decision for Tampa Bay," Saul-Sena said.

Over the next few weeks, the DOT is holding public workshops on the project. Links to the dates for all public workshops can be found on the Tampa Bay Express website.

The organization opposing the toll lanes project, Stop TBX, is planning a "TBX Code Yellow March" and "History Bike Tour" of the neighborhoods that will be effected by the additional toll lanes on Feb. 6.

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