May 3, 2022

The Inverness City Council entertained presentations from both representatives of the Florida Turnpike Enterprise/Florida Department of Transportation and then the Sierra Club regarding the Northern Turnpike Extension during their regularly scheduled May 3rd Inverness City Council meeting. After the FDOT/FTE representatives provided vague updates on the changes in the project development process and timeline, the City Council invited Sierra Club to provide a formal presentation to make the case for the No Build option, representing the cause of the No Roads to Ruin Coalition. Michael McGrath, Organizing Representative for Sierra Club FL, provided the facts that FDOT/FTE had failed to provide to the City Council on the negative impacts that each of the Northern Turnpike Extension proposed routes would have on our SWFWMD managed lands, vulnerable springsheds, wildlife habitat, and recreational lands and trails that contribute to the rural quality of life found within the Nature Coast.

After these presentations were provided to the City Council, public comment was heard from more than a dozen concerned residents and local organizations, all of which were in full support of the No Build option. Dozens more in the audience silently displayed their support by holding No Build signs and wearing “Rural Florida Says No Toll Roads” magenta stickers and shirts. After the conclusion of public comment, the City Council engaged in discussion on how to proceed and came to the unanimous agreement of approving a motion directing the City Manager to draft a No Build resolution against all of the proposed routes currently being considered with the Northern Turnpike Extension. The City Council intends to adopt the No Build resolution at their next City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 17th.

A big thank you needs to go out to the tireless advocacy of residents and activists consistently showing up at previous City Council meetings over the last couple of months. The perseverance of those who came out convinced the Inverness City Council to join the other local governments in supporting the No Build option for ALL of the Northern Turnpike Extension proposed routes. The Inverness City Council will soon join the Levy BOCC, the Dunnellon City Council, the Inglis Town Commission, and Yankeetown Council in the ranks of local governments that have passed No Build resolution against the entirety of the Northern Turnpike Extension.

Partners and activists within the No Roads to Ruin Coalition will work with the City Manager to provide the Inverness City Council an Inverness-specific No Build resolution that captures and emulates the City Council’s intent and concerns.

You can review the letter and maps that the Sierra Club provided to the City Council following the Florida Turnpike Enterprise/Florida Department of Transportation presentation here.