Renaming Florida's Roads for Cash

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

Lawmakers return to Tallahassee for their annual legislative session this spring. Topping the agenda a 3.5 billion dollar budget shortfall, but softening the blow could be as simple as re-naming Florida's roads.

After spending a year in Dallas., Cheryle and Roosevelt Hays have gotten homesick. They're on the road again, bound for their beloved Orlando. If lawmakers in Tallahassee have their way, the route they're taking may soon have a whole new theme. A bill filed in the house would let companies bid for the naming rights of state roads.

Just imagine, The Walt Disney Turnpike.

"The economy in Florida needs all the help it can get. I think naming the turnpike, have something to do with Disney, be able to direct people right into Disney and into the Orlando area, which, the whole state of Florida needs help,” Roosevelt Hays says.

Disney's only one example of a company that might jump to cut a check for as much as a hundred million dollars a year.

Using Florida's highways to help balance a multi-billion dollar budget deficit may be a novel idea,
But, could it be an on ramp to the kind of commercialization critics complain is ruining American society?

“I think the genie's already out of the bottle there,” says Doug Callaway, a transportation advocate.

As Callaway points out, most highways are already dotted with billboards, chain restaurants, shopping centers, and, well...the list goes on. When it comes to re-naming roads, all he cares about is making sure the revenue goes back to road building.

“If we're going to sell naming rights for a highway, the proceeds for that ought to go for transportation, not to plug budget holes for government somewhere else,” Callaway says.

In a tough budget year, there's no guarantee that would happen. Cheryle's not ready to drive down a 'Disney turnpike', not even if it means making sacrifices elsewhere.

I don't think it should be for sale - it should be a famous person versus a company, but he and i disagree. We've always disagreed!” Cheryle Hays says.

If they disagree, there's a good chance lawmakers will too.

As it stands, 80% of the Proceeds would go directly to the state’s transportation trust fun, which pays for road construction and maintenance.

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  • by Anonymous on Jan 25, 2011 at 04:16 PM
    Bolillo, How will this work exactly. How many trucks are going to pay? How many people will go somewhere else for vacation. How many electric and utility trucks will come here after the next hurricane? How much business will Florida lose just because we treat Americans from every other State different? I don't think you thought this through.
  • by Bolillo Location: Wakulla on Jan 25, 2011 at 01:54 PM
    Why not toll every road except for cars with Florida tags? $3.5 billion with a surplus. $1 a mile.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 25, 2011 at 11:16 AM
    seatrout, The money will not go to DOT at all. The legislature already learned their lesson, any money from naming rights will go directly to the General Revenue. Besides the roads are funded by the transportation trust fund. In fact they swept transportation funds into General Revenue last year (about 160 million). General Revenue does fund Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (Troopers and Licensing, etc.).
  • by seatrout Location: tallahassee on Jan 25, 2011 at 09:26 AM
    Just like lottery money for education, they will put this new money into DOT as promised, then Gen Revenue money that otherwise would also have gone to transportation will get cut and in the end, DOT will have no more money then they used to have. But each poly-tissiun will swear they did the right thing. Instead of progressing we are selling dumb stuff like building names, road names and opening casinos. Closing NASA and selling road signs. Is this why we sent our kids to college ?
  • by Anonymous on Jan 25, 2011 at 07:40 AM
    Anonymous on Jan 25, 2011 at 08:12 AM, Who would pay for the roads to be renamed MLK?
  • by Anonymous on Jan 25, 2011 at 07:39 AM
    Sabidor, I don't think the Governor actually has 3.5 billion! Maybe I'm wrong.
  • by TAX PAYER Location: Florida on Jan 25, 2011 at 07:37 AM
    WHY NOT, go for it, it beats us having to pay more taxes than what we are already paying. The name of a road does not change the conditions of or the distance of it. I drive on streets I can't pronounce the name of but that dose'nt keep me from going down them to get where I need to go. So if re-naming roads will keep me of Higher Taxes Drive. I'm tickled...
  • by Anonymous on Jan 25, 2011 at 07:36 AM
    T K, The cost of changing the signage will be included in the proposal for renaming the road. 100 million a year is a lot of signs for the turnpike. The signs of course would be initially created and installed by the state, but I'm sure the check would already be in the bank, so the signs would have actually been paid for by the entity who purchased the naming rights.
  • by T K Location: Aucilla on Jan 25, 2011 at 07:14 AM
    Who will pay to have all the signs changed.
  • by Tom Location: Tallahasse on Jan 25, 2011 at 06:54 AM
    I'm for it 100% Ofensive names could be screened out just like vanity license plates which have helped pay for roads for quite a while now. If someone was willing to pay all my taxes they could even rename me whatever they want. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
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