Bad for Taxpayers

New toll roads in rural Florida are a poor use of our tax dollars.

The Roads to Ruin toll road project was a multi-billion dollar taxpayer boondoggle when it passed the Florida Legislature in 2019. Now, during a pandemic that has blown up our state budget, crippled our economy, and left so many unemployed, it is hard to believe Governor DeSantis and other state politicians could still plan to go through with this reckless waste of state revenue.

Florida is infamous for toll road boondoggles going back decades. For example, Garcon Point Bridge in the panhandle (aka “Bo’s Bridge” named after the Speaker of the Florida House who pushed it through) was approved by the state legislature in the 90’s with similar promises as provided by M-CORES proponents. The bridge has turned out to be a monumental fiscal debacle and perpetual drain on tax dollars. Forced to increase tolls to $5 each way because of low use, the bridge is avoided by motorists due to its poorly planned location and record high tolls.

The $10 billion Roads to Ruin price tag – and that’s the low end of what’s being projected – is enough to pay for five years of health coverage for an estimated 830,000 Floridians. What else could that money buy that we actually need?

The coronavirus has devastated Florida’s tourism-based economy, likely costing the state billions in tax revenue. We need funds to pay for health care, education, common sense infrastructure, water quality projects, hurricane shelters, and more. It’s time to abandon the $10 billion+ budget-busting toll roads plan that local governments and communities oppose and the professional planners at 1000 Friends of Florida have rightly called “indefensible.”