The Florida legislature passed House Bill 985 in 2007. This bill allowed Florida to lease transportation facilities to private operators for concession terms of 50 or 75 years. The leases required approval of the Legislative Budget Commission, a statutorily created group comprised of 14 members of the Legislature tasked to approve mid-year budget changes. Shortly after HB 985 was signed into law, Governor Charlie Crist proposed the long-term lease of Alligator Alley, a 78-mile stretch of interstate highway I-75 spanning Florida from Collier County on the west coast to Broward County on the east coast. He touted the lease as a way to quickly raise money for shortfalls in other budgetary areas.
In 2008, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) began the procurement process, soliciting proposals from interested companies for the right to lease, maintain, operate and receive toll revenues from Alligator Alley. The lease was to be set up as a public-private partnership, with some revenue-sharing for the state, but was seen as a potential "gold mine" for a private company as the stream of toll payers grew.
Six teams of bidders expressed initial interest in the lease. Although FDOT extended the January deadline to receive bids to May 18, 2009, none of the interested parties submitted a bid. Besides vocal citizen opposition, the economic recession is thought to have discouraged interest in the lease. However, many expect the state to attempt to lease the highway again once economic conditions improve. The Citizens Transportation Coalition continues to monitor the privatization effort and post updates on its website.