Legislature May Fatten Toll Road Pork Barrel Proposal; Imagine That

The Florida Legislature is still scrambling to justify last year’s politically-influenced legislation to order a series of task force studies to justify the construction of hundreds of miles of new toll roads through rural sections of Florida’s heartland, Florida Politics reports.

The latest is a $5 million-a-year (no mention of how many years) subsidy for setting up broadband internet service for rural communities, which sometimes are underserved because there are not enough potential customers to attract corporate internet providers.

In addition, legislators have proposed extending the deadline for the task forces’ final reports from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15.

As the last meeting of the Southwest Corridor indicated, the lack of a specific proposed corridor for the highway’s route, is a sore point among local officials, who seem to be banking on some kind of state-funded economic development pork barrel appropriation.

The official party line from the state transportation staff, which is in contrast from what participants understood when the process began last summer, is that there really won’t be any line on a map, but simply some guiding principles that will determine the road’s route, according to a recent report from The Ledger in Lakeland.

If that is accurate, it will mean Tallahassee, not the task force, will decide where the road will be built or (if all options are open) whether any new road will be built.

In the immortal words of Gomer Pyle, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”