The Florida Senate has approved the bill to construct three new multi-use toll-road projects in rural areas of regional economic significance.

The legislation (SB 7068) was approved by an overwhelming majority of senators without any debate.

Designed to advance construction of three regional corridors, the programme will also include multiple modes of transportation and various infrastructure improvements such as broadband and sewer access, among others.

Senate president Bill Galvano said: “I am confident these new infrastructure corridors will help achieve Florida’s goal of strategically planning for future population growth, while at the same time revitalising rural communities and enhancing public safety.

“The benefits of this type of long-term investment in our infrastructure include regional connectivity that enhances trade and tourism, congestion mitigation and evacuation routes, as well as broadband, water, and sewer connectivity that helps preserve our natural resources while improving quality of life for residents in rural areas of our state.”

“I am confident these new infrastructure corridors will help achieve Florida’s goal of strategically planning for future population growth.”

The plan involves construction of Southwest-Central Florida Connector, Suncoast Connector and Northern Turnpike Connector under the M-CORES Programme.

For each of the three corridors, a taskforce will be established comprising representatives of appropriate state agencies to study the economic and environmental impacts of projects. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

In consultation with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDoT), each taskforce will carry out corridor analysis, including accommodating multiple types of infrastructure in the corridor.

They will also evaluate corridor need, hurricane evacuation needs, and land use impacts.

The bill requires public hearings in each local government jurisdiction to ensure local communities have a significant and meaningful opportunity for input.

The SB 7068 bill also creates and provides funding for a construction workforce development programme within the FDoT.

Under the legislation, the construction of projects must begin no later than 31 December 2022 and be open to traffic by December 2030.