Fantasy Highways Discussion Resumes Tuesday In Tampa

The debate on whether the solution to Florida’s hurricane evacuation, economic development and broadband ambitions is to build three new highways instead of improving the transportation network we already have will resume Tuesday in Tampa.
Representatives from Sierra Club and other environmental and public-interest organizations will be at the Tampa Convention Center to reaffirm our opposition to the projects.
Sierra declined to serve on the task forces as one of the representatives of the environmental community because we feel it is not appropriate to collaborate on the development of projects we don’t think are worthwhile in the first place.
According to press reports, the effort to expand roads south from Polk County to the edge of the Everglades/Big Cypress system and north from the Tampa Bay area to the Georgia border was largely driven by the road-building lobby and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
This is the latest in a long series of battles over proposed projects that have occurred in recent decades that have threatened historic sites such as Bok Tower or had the prospect of encouraging urban sprawl and making fire management more difficult on conservation lands.
The proposed projects under consideration this time around  threaten to further fragment habitat for the Florida panther and Florida black bear, threaten to cause urban sprawl that may cause economic losses for rural communities, threaten already stressed north Florida springsheds and divert limited state revenue to projects whose necessity has yet to be proven instead of spending the money on projects recommended by previous state task forces to improve mobility.
It will be important to follow this process over the next year and to comment whenever possible.