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Rick Scott orders FDOT to suspend tolls in counties with Hurricane Matthew evacuations

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Florida’s Department of Transportation will suspend tolls in counties where there are evacuation orders. The National Hurricane Center has called Hurricane Matthew a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour. The most recent forecast showed the entire east coast — spanning from Monroe to Nassau counties — could experience tropical storm or hurricane force winds, beach erosion, rip currents, and heavy rain. Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency earlier this week in all of Florida’s…

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What to make of House candidate Jackie Toledo?

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Jackie Toledo, the oft-controversial Republican running for Florida House District 60, has a major fundraiser planned for Tuesday. And while the invitation for the event is studded with dozens of local Republican heavyweights, I’m still not sure what to make of Toledo. Is she, as I want to believe, the latest in a line of Hillsborough Republican female pols who were initially underestimated by their critics and the media (think Sandy Murman during her stint in the Florida House)? Or…

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Rick Scott declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Matthew

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Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for all of Florida as Hurricane Matthew barrels toward Jamaica and Haiti. Heavy bands from the Category 4 storm have already flooded streets and sent many people to emergency shelters in the two countries. Two deaths have already been reported in Haiti, bringing the total for the storm to at least four. “If Hurricane Matthew directly impacts Florida, there could be massive destruction which we haven’t seen since Hurricane Andrew devastated Miami-Dade…

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Jack Latvala to FDOT: Don’t turn lanes on Howard Frankland into toll roads

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State Sen. Jack Latvala on Monday wrote to the Florida Department of Transportation objecting to any plan to start charging tolls on current lanes of the Howard Frankland bridge. Latvala was reacting to recent news that state officials plan to take one of the four existing lanes in each direction on the bridge and charge tolls. Until recently, local officials understood the plan, which is part of a wider highway expansion proposal known as the Tampa Bay Express, was to…

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Florida Poly and FDOT team up on SunTrax testing facility

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SunTrax

Who knows: Florida Polytechnic University could be where one of the self-driving cars of the future is tested. The school and the Florida Department of Transportation on Monday agreed to partner on the creation of a new “transportation technology testing facility” to be called SunTrax. SunTrax will include a 2.25 mile oval track on a 400-acre site in Polk County, located between Tampa and Orlando. “The creation of this facility will establish Florida as a transportation technology leader and create a high-tech…

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FDOT schedules hearings on replacement of Howard Frankland Bridge

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The Florida Department of Transportation has scheduled hearings in St. Petersburg and Tampa to give residents a chance to comment about plans to replace the northbound Howard Frankland Bridge. The span, which was reopened in January 1993, is nearing the end of its “serviceable life,” FDOT officials say. The FDOT is currently in the second phase of a long-range plan for replacing the bridge by conducting a comprehensive study that will help determine the location and conceptual design of feasible…

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Rick Scott goes blue collar to clean up Tallahassee

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Gov. Rick Scott hit the streets of Tallahassee Wednesday, picking up piles of fallen tree limbs and other debris and tossing them into the beds of Florida Department of Transportation trucks for disposal. Wearing jeans, work gloves, and a Navy bill cap, his shirt sleeves rolled up, Scott got to work on the city’s southside, on a street lined with neat bungalows and big piles of detritus from Hurricane Hermine. “This is going to be a good day for the…

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