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The Central Florida Expressway Authority is expected to vote in May on a 2040 master plan that calls for up to $9 billion in new toll roads.
The Central Florida Expressway Authority is expected to vote in May on a 2040 master plan that calls for up to $9 billion in new toll roads. (CFX)

The Central Florida Expressway Authority's proposed 2040 master plan calls for a dozen new toll road projects totaling up to $9 billion, in addition to the $2 billion in improvements needed for the agency's existing network.

Director of Engineering Glenn Pressimore told authority members Thursday that based on revenue projections of $6.6 billion, the agency would have a shortfall of between $3.6 billion and $5 billion over that 25-year period.

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CFX staff will distribute copies of the draft master plan to board members in a few weeks, and expect to bring the final version up for a vote at their May meeting. The agency typically updates its master plan every five years, but this is the first planning cycle for the new agency since it replaced the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority.

Pressimore told GrowthSpotter the plan includes the $1.2 billion in approved spending for the next five years, including projects already under construction like the Wekiva Parkway. After that, the highest priority would be $2 billion for the existing toll road system.

"I consider that to be imperative," he said.

He said $500 million would be needed for paving and maintenance of the existing CFX network. More than half of the agency's existing toll roads will need to be widened by 2040, so the other $1.5 billion would pay to widen segments of S.R. 417, S.R. 429 and S.R. 528, and for improvements at three interchanges.

The authority will have to find other solutions to relieve congestion on S.R. 408. "We just finished an effort to widen it out, so we have plenty of capacity now," he said.

But the expressway can no longer be widened -- there's no available right-of-way -- and building elevated lanes isn't an option because of the road's proximity to Orlando Executive Airport. One solution could be demand-based tolling, which charges higher tolls during peak traffic periods.

The potential new roads include an eight-mile eastern extension of S.R. 408, the Wellness Way in Lake County and a two-mile connector from S.R. 414 directly to Interstate 4. The rest include the five toll projects in the Osceola County Expressway Authority 2040 Plan and four corridors recommended by Gov. Rick Scott's East Central Florida Task Force.

The CFX Master Plan includes four highway corridors identified by the Governor Rick Scott's East Central Florida Corridor Task Force. The new toll roads would link the Orlando International Airport/Lake Nona area and Deseret Ranch to Brevard County and the Space Coast.
The CFX Master Plan includes four highway corridors identified by the Governor Rick Scott's East Central Florida Corridor Task Force. The new toll roads would link the Orlando International Airport/Lake Nona area and Deseret Ranch to Brevard County and the Space Coast. (CFX)

Pressimore said the cost estimates, which are in 2015 dollars, are simply based on lane miles. CFX hasn't factored in potential investment from public-private partnerships or public agencies, such as the Florida Turnpike Enterprise, that may choose to build one or more of the projects. But the bottom line is the board will have to set priorities to determine which projects get built and when.

"The real message is if there's $6.5 billion to $9 billion in project needs and only $3.4 billion in (funding) capacity, decisions need to be made," he said. "The report acts as a menu of options. In a perfect world, we'd be able to do them all. There may be two or three that may be more attractive for some reason or another."

For example, the four task force corridors vary widely in price. An 8-10 mile toll road linking the OCX Northeast connector to S.R. 528, the Beachline Expressway, is estimated to cost between $320 million and $500 million. Some of the longer east-west routes connecting Orlando International Airport and Lake Nona to Brevard County and the Space Coast could top out at $1.75 billion.

"The board will have to decide if there is future development to support where that road might be," Pressimore said.

The pace at which Deseret Ranch develops will be the main driver for those decisions. "It's hard to say we need something by 2040 when they say their development is still another 40 years out," Pressimore said.

Another large unknown, at least for now, is the multimodal element and to what extent CFX participates in cost sharing for SunRail operations, or future Bus Rapid Transit expansions. CFX Spokeswoman Michelle Maikisch said the multimodal study now underway by the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) won't be completed until well after the 2040 plan goes to the board for approval. So any related costs would have to be added later as a plan amendment.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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