• Gov. Rick Scott to sign Expressway Authority Bill


    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Channel 9 has learned Gov. Rick Scott has made his decision and will sign the Expressway Authority Bill when it reaches his desk.

    The bill will create a regional expressway authority and eliminate the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority. It will create a larger board with nine representatives, including some from Orange, Lake and Seminole counties.

    A statement from Scott's press secretary on Tuesday reads, "Governor Scott looks forward to signing the expressway authority bill when it reaches his desk. The Governor supports State Attorney (Jeffrey) Ashton’s efforts to hold public officials accountable."

    Scott announced his decision the same day prosecutors released hundreds of pages of documents detailing their criminal case against recently suspended board member Scott Batterson.

    Channel 9's Jorge Estevez sat down with Scott earlier this month, in which Scott said he's well aware of problems with the existing OOCEA board. 

    The Florida House and Senate passed the regional expressway authority legislation, which the governor now says he'll sign.

    Scott knows the history behind the OOCEA and Batterson after Batterson was indicted on bribery and unlawful compensation charges.

    "When the one individual was indicted I immediately suspended him. We have to hold everybody accountable," Scott said.

    But the governor wouldn't say whether he regrets appointing Batterson in the first place.

    WFTV obtained emails in which, based on Batterson's suspected conflicts of interest, Florida voters questioned his decision.

    Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said a new board is a necessary fresh start.

    "I think it's the only way to rebuild the public trust," Jacobs said.

    Once the bill reaches Scott's desk, he has 15 days to sign it or veto it, or it would become law without his signature.

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