This shouldn’t surprise anyone, but most people who have bothered to comment about a plan to jam new toll roads through much of what’s left of rural Florida are against it.
The figures were contained in an analysis released today by No Roads To Ruin, a coalition of environmental and other public interest organizations that includes Florida Sierra Club.
Specifically, 93 percent of the public comments were opposed to the projects. These projects were the result of lobbying by the road-building industry and other special interest that produced legislati0on that was rammed through the 2019 session by Senate President Bill Galvano.
One corridor runs from Lakeland to the Naples area. A second would run from north of the Tampa Bay area to the Georgia border. A third corridor would connect the northern corridor with the Florida Turnpike.
The No Roads To Ruin report comes less than a week before the final meetings of the task forces appointed to study issues related to building new roads through three designated corridors running from the Everglades to the Georgia border.
The task forces were only allowed to develop some guidelines and principles to be used in implementing whatever project state transportation officials decide to pursue using the money appropriated by legislators and within the timeline laid out in the law.
Galvano and other road backers argue new highways are needed to relieve traffic congestion, ease hurricane evacuation and promote economic development in struggling rural areas of the state.
Opponents contend the roads are unnecessary, will destroy remaining intact wildlife corridors, encourage urban sprawl and are not financially feasible.
The final reports are due in Tallahassee by Nov. 15.
The No Roads To Ruin coalition organizers have also questioned whether the fact that public opinion is overwhelmingly against the projects will be included in that final report.