After two failed motions that were presented by Commissioners Stone and Bryant (both of which failed to take a hard line against the Northern Turnpike Extension asking for a #NoBuild resolution), the County Commission ended up voting to send a letter that only asks FDOT for “mitigation” which was the original unedited letter that was included in Marion County agenda packet. It needs to be noted that this letter DOES NOT OPPOSE A NEW TOLL ROAD IN MARION COUNTY. Instead, the letter the Marion BOCC agreed to send to FDOT will be interpreted by FDOT as a green light to pave over Marion.

The No Roads to Ruin Coalition opposed this letter and instead supported a true “No Build” resolution which we provided to the Marion BOCC. What the Marion County Commission voted to send to FDOT was a “weak sauce” letter and it will be interpreted by FDOT as a green light to pave over Marion County and beyond. This was an egregious error on the part of the Marion Board of County Commissioners.

Easily over 50 people today provided emotional and fact-backed public testimony about why they wanted their Commissioners to take a decisive stand against the toll roads. People spoke eloquently about how this toll road would displace them from their place of residence, how it would ruin the quality of life of Marion County, bisect farms and equestrian communities, and how it would impact the treasured Rainbow River and the County’s various conservation lands and preserves. Many were understandably heartbroken and visibly upset after the approval of this weak letter by the Commission.

It should be noted that over 1,700 Marion County residents signed petitions in the last month alone opposing the toll roads here asking you to take a decisive stand opposing the toll roads. This comes on the heels after the City Council of Dunnellon unanimously passed their own No Build resolution the day before and the Levy BOCC also unanimously passed a No Build resolution on the same day. Those local governments set an example for how to lead and to have a seat at the table and a clear position with FDOT, the Governor, and the Legislature.

You can read the coverage from Ocala StarBanner about the contentious County Commission meeting on December 21st here. Photos of the meeting and No Roads to Ruin activists and local residents in action can be accessed here.


“Many of the people who attended Tuesday’s County Commission meeting left disappointed when the board declined to support the “no build” option for the proposed northern extension of the Florida Turnpike.

Instead, on a contentious 3-2 vote, the commission agreed to send a letter to the Florida Department of Transportation, urging it to give Marion County government a seat at the table as the state studies the proposed highway.

Nearly 200 people packed into the commission auditorium in Ocala. Many addressed the five commissioners, and the vast majority of them wanted the board to join the City of Dunnellon in fully objecting to the road project, which would extend the turnpike’s northern terminus from Wildwood/Interstate 75 west to U.S. 19. Three of the four proposed routes go through Marion County.”

Related coverage and news articles:

Ocala Gazette | “No Build” road debate continues

Our Santa Fe River | More Disappointing Leaders In Marion County