Don’t Give Up Fight Over Toll Roads

Before the first bulldozer clears the first tree to make way for the recently approved expansion of Florida’s toll road system. a study commission will be appointed and convene meetings to hear what the public has to say.
We need to be involved.
I will guarantee that the people who are paid to lobby for the roads will show up.
The legislation signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, which calls for the roads to be under way by 2022, seems to guarantee that the study commissions will be simply a formality,
That is, it looks like a case in which Florida’s natural resources will be given a fair trial and shot at dawn.
That would be a mistake and probably won’t happen because nothing is that simpIe.
A lot will depend on whether local elected officials think the intrusion will affect their constituents’ quality of life, local traffic patterns and their local vision defined in their local growth plans.
A lot will depend on how skeptically participants in the process view the claim that the need for the roads is a given.
A lot will depend on what natural resources the roads’ proposed routes will affect.
There was recently a newspaper article that reviewed the history of how long it took to extend a toll road through the Wekiva River basin to complete the second half of a beltway around Orlando.
I would point out that the rest of the beltway was planned and constructed with much less discussion. That road is probably a better example of what opponents of the expansion of toll roads elsewhere in the state fear will occur if the turnpike system is expanded into more rural areas.
Over time, rooftops have replaced treetops in former rural areas as cities–mostly Orlando– extended their boundaries into the countryside.
There’s no reason to think the same thing won’t happen in other parts of the state if the roads are built.

Posted in Group Conservation Issues.