Tampa, Florida -- The toll road linking Interstate 4 and the Selmon Expressway in Ybor City has been in the works for 20 years, and as of Monday morning, it's now a wide-open road.
The I-4 / Selmon Connector is the biggest road project happening right now anywhere in Tampa Bay. And its opening means a lot more than just a quicker commute.
Here are five reasons this one mile of road is a huge deal for Tampa Bay:
You - This connector will cut drive times for people all over Hillsborough County. Even if you don't use it often, an estimated 28,000 people will take it each day.
That will keep other roads less crowded and flowing smoothly, particularly in Downtown Tampa.
Port of Tampa - New ramps on the I-4 Connector just for cargo trucks mean the Port of Tampa can triple the number of trucks that come and go each day.
That's enormous news for the Tampa Bay region's single biggest economic engine.
Jobs - Building the Connector was expected to create 14,000 jobs for workers in the struggling construction industry, fueling the Bay Area's economic recovery right as we climbed out of the recession.
Ybor City - By taking hundreds of port cargo trucks out of Ybor City every day, Tampa's colorful historical neighborhood becomes a much better and safer place to visit and open a business.
Working Together - Around a quarter of the Connector's $425 million cost was paid by federal stimulus money.
But to get the money, all of the local governments in Tampa Bay -- even potential rivals in Pinellas County -- had to agree this was the right place to pool our money and support the port.
Without that unity, the I-4 / Selmon Connector would still be a patch of trees and dirt today.
Tolls for cars range from 50 cents to $1, depending on what direction you're going.
There are no toll booths. If you don't have a SunPass, they'll use your license plate to bill you.
The Toll-By-Plate option ups the price of each toll by 25 cents and adds a $2.50 per month administrative fee.
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