Business Interests Unsurpisingly Push Signing Of Toll Road Bill

As Sierra Club and other environmental groups organized rallies around the state Tuesday  to urge Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto a bill that would siphon state general revenue into a proposal to build new toll roads through rural sections of Florida and the habitat of some of the rarest species in the state, business interests predictably launched their own publicity campaign to support it.
As reported in Florida Politics, a procession of statewide and local business leaders argued the roads are the answer to an increasingly overdeveloped state’s traffic congestion and freight movement problems.
The fallacy in this argument is that the congestion lies in urban areas and the proposed roads will be built elsewhere while already busy corridors that need improvements are being ignored.
A traffic accident recently shut down a two-lane section of State Road 60– one of Florida’s major east-west corridors– for nearly half a day. That’s a real transportation infrastructure problem, not an imaginary one.
Business groups raised the same familiar questionable arguments.
They want better access to ports. Florida’s major ports are in Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville, not Naples and Steinhatchee.
Long-distance hurricane evacuations are too rare to justify these new roads, especially  when improvinge local shelters would be more cost-effective in keeping people safe.
Local economic-development officials always want new roads because the resultant real estate sales and road contracts will  fatten a few well-connected colleagues wallets.
This isn’t really a fight about relieving traffic congestion, but a fight over what kind of vision we should have for growth-management and preservation of green spaces in this state.
Excuse us if we have little confidence in study commissions that will likely have pre-set agendas. And,  if they come up with questions about the feasibility or the projects, they will be dismissed as merely advisory.
Legislators, after all, always know best. All you have to do is ask them.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision on this proposal will affect Florida’s environmental sustainability for generations.
Let’s hope he makes the right decision.