Why No Roads to Ruin?

In 2019, the Florida state legislature passed a bill to authorize the design and construction of three new toll roads through the heart of rural Florida. If built, these new toll roads will destroy large swaths of Florida’s last remaining rural lands and communities, pollute waterways, and threaten endangered wildlife, including the iconic Florida panther.

The bill creating the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis on May 17, 2019, despite a veto request from over 90 organizations and businesses from across Florida.

The proposed corridors are:

Suncoast Connector

Suncoast Connector extending north from Citrus County to the Georgia border.

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Northern Turnpike Connector

Northern Turnpike Connector extending from the Suncoast Connector to the Florida Turnpike.

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Southwest-Central Connector

Southwest-Central Florida Connector extending from Polk County to Collier County.

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If completed, 300 plus miles of toll roads could be constructed by 2030, resulting in the largest highway expansion in Florida since the creation of the interstate system in the 1950s. Road building alone will immediately destroy more than 52,800 acres of undeveloped areas and promote unsustainable sprawl which could destroy hundreds of thousands of additional acres of land and wetlands.

No one, including the state’s transportation planners at the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), asked for these toll roads; they were pushed onto the unsuspecting public by private development interests and Senate President Bill Galvano, who by the way lives far from any immediate impacts these new roads threaten. These “roads to ruin” represent the worst type of policy-making; a massively expensive pet project pushed by one powerful legislative leader catering to wealthy special interests who have Florida taxpayers as their last priority.

The three task forces charged with developing these plans are stacked with (1) representatives from industries who stand to benefit financially from carving up what remains of the unpaved Florida and (2) state and local government employees paid directly or indirectly by the state and therefore unlikely to challenge the status quo. Developers have been given a seat at the table for drafting the “guiding principles” for how this plan will be implemented, while the residents on the frontlines of this development threat have been relegated to the sidelines. This poor governance disrespects and erodes the democratic process and underlying principles upon which are state and nation are founded.

Advocates of this multi-billion dollar mega project make false promises of illusory benefits and offer reasoning that cannot be substantiated. Meanwhile, funding these unneeded and damaging roads ignores actual, pressing needs of the state and its citizens toward which the tax dollars should be directed. As a state faced with the impacts of a changing climate and increased population, it is dangerous folly to waste tax dollars on outdated and unneeded infrastructure Building toll roads is not the path forward. We need to shift from the 20th century development model of highways and suburban sprawl to modern and sustainable solutions for our 21st century solutions that protect our water and natural resources first. This is how we will prepare for a better future. Recognizing that these roads will only bring ruin, we have formed a grassroots, anti-M-CORES campaign with the goal of opposing these roads and making sure they are never built. We invite you to stand with the No Roads to Ruin Coalition and our commitment to stop these roads in their tracks.