Driving like Arnold Palmer may soon take on a new meaning in Orlando.
The Senate Transportation Committee approved a bill Tuesday to rename about four miles of State Road 408 as the “Arnold Palmer Expressway,” honoring the legendary golfer and longtime Orlando snowbird resident who died last September.
“As you know Arnold Palmer was not only a larger-than-life figure in golf, he was an incredibly beloved and incredibly charitable member of the Central Florida community,” said state Sen. David Simmons, the Longwood Republican who sponsored Senate Bill 480.
“And as you know, the Arnold Palmer Invitational is March 13-19, 2017, and in preparation for that, this bill is one we’re hoping, since it only has one committee of reference, will recognize the awesome, awesome work and the individual that Arnold Palmer was,” Simmons added. “I’m hoping you can support 480 so that it can be passed the first week of session and be part of Central Florida before the invitational.”
There was no hesitation. With two potential speakers waiving, the entire matter took less than three minutes before the committee voted unanimously to report the bill favorably to the full senate.
The bill, however, technically would not take effect until July 1, as currently written. It would name the stretch of SR 408 from Kirkman Road to Clarke Road after the golfing great, who lived just south of that stretch in the Dr. Phillips area of Orlando. That highway already is designated by the Central Florida Expressway Authority as the East-West Expressway.