New Central Florida Expressway Authority Meets
July 10, 2014 | WMFE, Orlando- Members of Central Florida's new expressway authority met for the first time today.
The new nine member board replaces an authority plagued by corruption allegations.
Three members of the former Orlando- Orange County expressway authority were indicted by a grand jury, and former board member Marco Peña pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating Florida's Sunshine Law.
Lake County commissioner Welton Cadwell was elected chair of the new board.
“I know there are skeptics out there that think appointing five elected officials to the board is going to fix it," Cadwell says. "And so we know you’re out there and we’re going to prove you wrong. This is going to be a dynamic board. We know you’re talking about us behind our backs. We get it, we get it.”
Cadwell says it’s been his county’s goal for a long time to have a seat on the board of the expressway authority, which controls 109 miles of toll roads.
During the public comment section of the meeting, Sally Baptiste said she’s not convinced the new authority will be an improvement.
“I find it amazing and repulsive that despite the Orlando Orange County expressway authority, a decision was made to expand the power of this very agency. This decision reflects the total disrespect for the highway commuters and all taxpayers of Florida,” says Baptiste.
Baptiste questioned whether penalties facing former board members Scott Batterson and Marco Peña were strict enough.
The new board includes the mayors of Orlando and Orange County, commissioners from Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Lake Counties, and three members appointed by governor Rick Scott.