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Road rage and Alligator Alley lease added to transportation choo-choo bill

By a 3-2 vote, a Senate panel on Thursday added Sen. Michael Bennett's road rage bill to a lengthy transportation bill that includes liability language being sought by CSX as part of a complex deal to bring commuter rail to Central Florida.

Bennett's bill would require motorists to get out of the left lane of the highway if someone comes up behind them even if that driver was speeding. Bennett has defended the measure as a way to cut down on road rage because motorists would be less likely to weave in and out of traffic.

Bennett was asked why former Gov. Jeb Bush vetoed a similar bill two years ago and his reply was: "He wasn't his driving car then" before adding "When you are driving your own car it makes a difference."

The bill was also amended to include a provision being pushed by Sen. Dan Webster that would let the state to use money from the Chiles Endowment to lease Alligator Alley. Webster then amended the legislation that would call for tolls of the Florida Turnpike and other toll roads to go up by 25 percent on July 1, 2008. Webster defended the measure as a way to generate more money to build roads in Florida.