News Articles

M-CORES highway toll project quietly shelved

By Nathan Mayberg | Fort Myers Beach Talk | July 8, 2021

Excerpt: “The road expansions proved unpopular with environmental groups, taxpayer watchdog groups, newspaper editorial boards and ultimately legislators themselves who voted unanimously in the State House to reverse the 2019 bill by a vote of 115-0 and in the Senate by a vote of 39-1. The lone senator opposed to the reversal is Sen. Janet Cruz (D-Tampa).

The office of DeSantis did not provide any comment by the governor on the signing of the legislation.

M-CORES is history

By Lazaro Aleman |Madison County Carrier | July 8, 2021 

Excerpt: “Although M-CORES appears to be in the rear mirror, the project’s opponents caution that SB-100 is still a major highway construction bill that warrants monitoring going forward in order to protect the environment and prevent urban sprawl.” 

Florida enacts sweeping law to protect its wildlife corridors

By Douglas Main | National Geographic | June 30, 2021

Excerpt: “Meanwhile, developmental pressures are urgent. In 2019 a network of toll roads was proposed, called M-CORES, that would build more than 300 miles of roads cutting through some of the last undeveloped swathes of the state. Though the M-CORES project is on hold, conservationists are concerned new roads such as these or others could lead to further degradation of the land and damage the integrity of the Florida wildlife corridor.”

Florida M-CORES dead, but two-thirds of proposed toll road ‘boondoggle’ still on books

By John Haughey | The Center Square contributor | Jun 29, 2021

Excerpt: “But opponents are not celebrating. No Roads To Ruin is calling on its coalition, which includes the Sierra Club, Florida Conservation Voters and Florida Springs Council, to continue opposing the two remaining toll roads.

“The good news is one proposed road has been eliminated; the bad news is the other two proposed roads remain,” the group said in a statement. “In total, the governor’s action falls woefully short of eliminating the original M-CORES threat and realizing the transportation needs of Florida.””

Big budget and many other new Florida laws set to take effect July 1

By Jim Turner, News Service of Florida | June 29, 2021

Excerpt: “Lawmakers repealed the controversial M-CORES project this year. It would have built and expanded toll roads across the state. SB 100 scraps the idea almost entirely and instructs M-CORES funding to be used for other transportation projects. That includes plans to extend Florida’s Turnpike.”

Note: the plan to extend the Florida Turnpike would be a tolled road and would go through environmentally sensitive lands and existing conservation lands such as wetlands, wildlife management areas, preserves, floodplains, and aquifer recharge areas.

Florida Takes U-Turn on New Toll Roads 

Bradenton Times | Staff Report | June 27, 2021

Excerpt: “The new law cancels out plans for the Heartland Parkway, a toll road that was to run from Polk County south to Collier County. It also undoes plans to extend the Florida Turnpike. The repeal bill does, however, leave in place plans to extend the Suncoast Parkway to the Georgia-Florida state line.”

‘REAR-VIEW MIRROR’ — “Bill signing to repeal state toll roads program received mixed response,”

By Bruce Ritchie | Politico Florida | June 25, 2021

Light praise — Environmentalists praised the legislation for eliminating the M-CORES program but said it only fully repeals the Southwest-Central Florida Connector. “In total, the Governor’s action falls woefully short of eliminating the original M-CORES threat and realizing the transportation needs of Florida,” said a statement from the No Roads to Ruin Coalition, which includes the Sierra Club, Florida Conservation Voters and Florida Springs Council. The new state law now directs the Department of Transportation to build bypasses along U. S. Highway 19 in North Florida to replace to Suncoast Parkway extension.

M-CORES toll program in Florida is officially dead

By Tyson Fisher | Land Line Media | June 25, 2021

Excerpt: “Although many who oppose M-CORES are satisfied with SB100, some are not.

In a news release, No Roads to Ruin, a group organized specifically to stop the program, says the repeal is not enough.

“The good news is that one proposed road has been eliminated; the bad news is that the other two proposed roads remain,” the group said in a statement.

No New Florida Toll Roads After DeSantis Agrees to Scrap Plan

By Jim Saunder, NSF | WUSF Public Media, Orlando Weekly, and WINK News | June 25, 2021

Excerpt: “Without comment, DeSantis’ office announced Thursday night he signed a measure (SB 100) that repeals what Galvano dubbed the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, or M-CORES, program —- though the state is expected to still move forward with two projects that are at least somewhat similar to what Galvano envisioned.

***

But similar to the Galvano plan, it will require a project designed to extend the turnpike from its current western end at Wildwood to a point to be determined by the Florida Department of Transportation. In addition, the bill will require a “controlled access” road project aimed at “free flow” of traffic on U.S. 19 from the Suncoast Parkway to Interstate 10 in Madison County.”

Gov. DeSantis dead ends proposed toll roads with latest signature

By Renzo Downey | Florida Politics | June 25, 2021

The bill cancels plans for the Heartland Parkway, a toll road envisioned to stretch from Polk County south to Collier County. It also undoes plans to extend the Florida Turnpike.

And with the roadways, the repeal bill also cancels much of the related infrastructure improvements imagined when the M-CORES plan was crafted two years ago.

The legislation does leave in place plans to extend the Suncoast Parkway to the Georgia-Florida state line.

MCORES maybe gone for good

By Cindy Jo Ayers | Gilchrist County Journal

SB100 does away with the Southwest Florida Connector between Collier and Polk Counties. But, it does not do away with everything that will affect the Tri-County area. The Suncoast Parkway plans have been modified in the bill which calls for utilizing the existing route of U.S. 19 which will eventually connect with Interstate 10 in Madison County. The bill also calls for non-tolled alternative roads for local traffic along U.S. 19, which will become a free flowing toll road according to the Senate Bill.

Florida legislature partially repeals M-CORES toll projects

By Tyson Fisher | Land Line Media

Excerpt: Some opponents of M-CORES consider the partial repeal a win while others believe it is not enough.

Conversely, No Roads to Ruin, a group organized specifically to stop M-CORES, said the bill moves the state in the wrong direction.

“The No Roads to Ruin Steering Committee did not support SB100 because the bill did not stop all of the roads at the heart of M-CORES,” the group said in a statement. “SB100 moves our state in the wrong direction and leaves North Florida’s rural communities and natural resources at risk. Florida needs a 21st century transportation policy that takes us away from new roads through environmentally sensitive areas and towards sustainable transportation alternatives. As such, with two of three toll road threats remaining, we cannot proclaim that its passage and expected signing by the governor as

Suncoast Pkwy expansion moved to Madison County, where reception remains mixed

By Jacob Murphy

WCTV

Excerpt: “What was the logic behind this decision?” she said. “No research, no studies, nothing to indicate we needed a project like this.”

Last December, Jefferson County Commissioner Chris Tuten helped pass a resolution, making it clear the county did not want the project.

“We didn’t believe it was right for the county, so we fought to keep it out of the county and succeeded,” he said.

Florida Legislature puts kibosh on massive toll road expansion plan
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida via Orlando Weekly, Creative Loafing Tampa BayCitrus County ChronicleMid-Florida NewspapersJacksonville Business Journal, others
With little comment, the Florida House on Tuesday gave final approval to scrapping much of a controversial toll-road plan, sending the issue to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Florida’s controversial toll roads projects are scrapped
By Lawrence Mower
Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald
Two years after ordering the state to build more than 300 miles of toll roads across rural Florida, state lawmakers slammed the brakes.

Florida Legislature detours contentious ‘MCORES’ toll roads plan
By Jeffrey Schweers
Tallahassee Democrat
The Florida Legislature has repealed a law that would have created three new, controversial toll roads through underdeveloped and environmentally sensitive parts of Florida and shifted hundreds of millions in state highway funding to build them. But the latest bill by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, stops short of killing two of the three proposed toll roads and directs transportation officials to improve arterial roads and truck routes.

Gov. DeSantis to decide fate of controversial toll road projects through sensitive lands in Florida
By Laura Cassels
Florida Phoenix
The state’s plan to build three massive toll roads through rural swaths of Florida were scrapped Tuesday, when the House of Representatives cast the last vote needed to repeal the controversial projects and send the legislation to the governor for final review. But the repeal isn’t exactly a total repeal: The legislation still authorizes new toll roads and highways, including expansion and “road upgrades” along 130 miles of scenic U.S. 19 between Citrus County and I-10 in north Florida, which could impact sensitive parts of Florida.

Legislature greenlights repeal of toll road expansion
By Jacob Ogles
Florida Politics
A repeal of a massive toll road expansion passed in the Legislature with little pushback. Now the bill heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk two years after he signed the plan for three highways into law.

Madison may become new terminus for toll road
By Alex Miner
Greene Publishing
If one of two bills winding their way through the legislative process make it to the governor’s desk and are signed into law, Madison County could well become the new terminus for the Suncoast Connector.

Florida House Democrats tout repeal of contentious state toll road plan
Staff Report
News Service of Florida, WINK News Miami
As the House is set to scuttle large parts of a controversial toll-road plan, House Democratic Co-leader Evan Jenne on Monday chalked up the move as a victory for Democrats.

Democrats tout repeal of toll road plan
By Jacob Ogles
Florida Politics
A plan to expand Florida’s toll road networks appears to be reaching the end of the road early.

Plans for Florida connector toll roads voted down
By Jason Lanning
Tampa Bay News 9
A plan to build a new toll road in Central Florida, and extend two existing toll roads was unanimously voted down by Florida Legislators this week.

Controversial plan to expand toll roads hits dead end over environmental, cost concerns
By Josh Sidorowicz
WTSP Tampa Bay
Florida lawmakers have hit the brakes on a proposal to build more than 300 miles of toll roads through environmentally sensitive, undeveloped parts of the state.

Florida House decides against Collier to Polk toll road
Staff Report
NBC 2 Fort Myers
The Florida House of Representatives voted against a massive toll road expansion project known as M-CORES.

Florida Legislature Votes To Repeal Massive Toll Road Projects Known As M-CORES
By Joe Byrnes
WMFE Orlando
A Senate bill repealing massive toll road projects known as M-CORES  passed the Florida House on a vote of 115-0 Tuesday.

M-CORES hits dead end, repeal sent to Governor’s desk
By Karen Murphy
The Capitolist
In a year of in which the Florida Legislature faced uncertain revenue projections, a controversial toll-road project was an easy sacrifice to the proverbial chopping block. This week, the Legislature sent a bill that does away with much of a controversial toll-road plan, called the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Legislature passes rural broadband expansion bill
By Renzo Downey
Florida Politics
Lawmakers on Wednesday approved a measure to help expand broadband access in “unserved” parts of the state…The Broadband Opportunity Program portion, originally filed as a separate bill (HB 753) by Gainesville Republican Rep. Chuck Clemons, originally tied itself to the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) program to help fund the broadband initiatives, but lawmakers are moving to cancel that program, which explored the possibility of adding three additional toll roads in Florida.

Florida Puts Brakes on $20B Plan to Fast-Track Expansion of Highway Corridors
By Jim Parsons
Engineering News-Record
Just two years after enacting an expedited highway corridor development program, the Florida state Senate has scaled back the effort in the face of pandemic-influenced economic realities.

Basically everyone in Florida is united against these new highways
By Eric Tegethoff
Grist
Highway construction and expansion projects are in the works around the country. But none will add more highway miles or be more costly than Florida’s Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance program, or M-CORES for short…The project’s opponents are doing all that they can to make that option a reality. Young Leaders for Wild Florida has joined more than 100 other groups in a coalition called No Roads to Ruin. The coalition has kept up a steady letter-writing campaign to newspapers and rallied at the state Capitol in protest. The group also analyzed nearly 10,000 public comments that FDOT task forces received about the project and found that 93 percent were negative — suggesting that there is little constituency for M-CORES. “Our work must continue until the state abandons all proposals to build new unnecessary and damaging roads in the M-CORES study area,” Ryan Smart, executive director of the Florida Springs Council and a member of the coalition’s steering committee, said in a statement to Grist.

Florida’s controversial toll road projects are on the verge of being repealed
By Lawrence Mower
Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald
State lawmakers appear prepared to dismantle the controversial road projects that would have built more than 300 miles of new toll roads across rural parts of Florida.

Florida For Two Years Considered Adding More Toll Roads, And Now Much Of That Idea Is Likely Dead
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida via WUFT Gainesville, Fox 13 Tampa BayHighland News-Sun, likely others
A Senate proposal to scuttle large parts of a controversial toll-road plan was fast-tracked Friday to the House floor.

Repeal Of Controversial Toll Road Plan Heads To House Floor
By Robbie Gaffney
WFSU Tallahassee, WJCT JacksonvilleWUSF Tampa
A proposal to repeal three controversial toll roads is heading to the House floor for a vote. It’s already been approved by the Senate.

Toll road repeal clears first House committee
By Jacob Ogles
Florida Politics
The Legislature approved the M-CORES program just two years ago. Legislation to repeal a contentious plan to expand Florida’s toll road network took its first steps in the House. On Friday, the House Appropriations Committee heard Senate bill SB 100, reporting it favorably.

Senate-Approved Bill Repealing M-CORES Moves Toward House Vote
By Joe Byrnes
WMFE Orlando
A bill approved by the Florida Senate that repeals M-CORES — the pricey 2019 plan for three toll-roads — is headed for a vote in the House.

Florida Senate bill scraps Southwest-Central Florida Connector toll road
By Taylor Smith
WINK News
Panther habitat could be safe from a major project. There could be a plan to scrap a road project that would cut right through it.

Florida House set to vote on toll road expansion repeal
Staff Report
NBC2 News Fort Myers
A plan to nix the massive toll road expansion known as M-CORES is finally moving in the Florida House.

House Set to Vote on M-CORES Repeal
Staff Report
WCJB Gainesville
A plan to nix the massive toll road expansion known as M-CORES is finally moving in the Florida House.

Bill aiming to repeal Florida toll road projects passes House committee
Staff Report
10 Tampa Bay
A bill that seeks to undo plans of expanding Florida’s controversial toll road projects passed its first House Committee Friday.

Florida Legislature is down to deal-making days of session
By Mary Ellen Klas, Kirby Wilson and Ana Ceballos
Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald
Excerpt: In exchange for moving the bill in the Senate Appropriations Committee on April 9, some of Simpson’s top priorities started getting traction in the House. Among them: a bill to extend liability protections for the sugar industry in the face of a class-action lawsuit over sugar cane burning; legislation intended to keep gambling legislation alive, another to limit the traditional pension system for new state workers, and a proposal to derail large parts of a controversial toll-road plan that Democrats, environmentalists and Simpson wanted ended…“The last two weeks of session have always been a master class in horse trading, and this is year is no different,’’ said Rep. Evan Jenne, a Dania Beach Democrat.

Time running out on bid for state money to fund West Shore Interchange project
By Anastasia Dawson
Tampa Bay Times
For months, Tampa leaders have pushed Florida lawmakers to find money for a major local transportation plan before the clock runs out on this year’s $100 billion state budget…Money might be freed up if the House follows the Senate’s lead and repeals three divisive and costly toll road plans known as M-CORES. The move gives a glimmer of hope to advocates for the West Shore project and all the 77 projects in the state Department of Transportation’s five-year work plan that have been cut or delayed as the coronavirus pandemic ravages state revenues.

House adopts changes to toll road plan, nears M-CORES repeal
By Renzo Downey
Florida Politics
The House has voted to reroute a proposed toll road away from Jefferson County. Meanwhile, a House panel is slated to consider a separate proposal to scrap most of the state toll road plan.

Toll Road Revamp Emerges In Florida House
Staff Report
News Service of Florida via WUSF Tampa, Fox 35 Tampa BayFox 51 GainesvilleWWSB Sarasota 
The House Appropriations Committee is slated Friday to take up a Senate plan that would largely scuttle a 2019 law that called for three controversial toll-road projects.

Florida Toll Road Project Could See Change For Suncoast Parkway
Staff Report
News Service of Florida via WUSF Tampa, Tallahassee DemocratWFSU TallahasseeFox 13 Tampa Bay
Jefferson County would no longer be the northern end point for a proposed extension of the Suncoast Parkway, under a bill approved unanimously Tuesday by the House Commerce Committee.

Florida lawmakers walk back part of controversial toll road project (video report here)
By Briona Arradondo
FOX 13 News
The state hoped adding toll roads to three parts of the state would help tackle Florida’s growth, but lawmakers aren’t so sure now about the M-CORES program.

Bill to scale back controversial toll road project passes Senate
By Karen Murphy
The Capitolist
A massive multi-million dollar infrastructure project facing both a growing chorus of angry voices and a tight budget year, found itself an easy target for the chopping block in the Florida Senate.

Parkway to U.S. 19 plan still on the table
By Michael D. Bates
Citrus County Chronicle
County Commissioner Jeff Kinnard said the board’s main mission is to get the Suncoast Parkway extended to U.S. 19 north of Crystal River. Where it goes from there to connect with other roadways in other parts of Florida is up to those counties and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), said Kinnard, chairman of the Hernando-Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Galvano’s toll roads unraveling (subscription only; full text below)
By Zac Anderson
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Bill Galvano may not get his name on a toll road after all.

A big legacy of Galvano’s term as Florida Senate president is legislation he championed that would create three new toll roads. The Bradenton Republican pitched the bill as a way to update Florida’s infrastructure to prepare the state for a surge in population growth.

But the toll roads are loathed by environmentalists, who say they would spoil rural areas of the state, and it now seems like some Republican lawmakers weren’t that keen on them either.

Read the rest here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RKJF-FPpBeyzFtIHM5A_Fyhc986z4dZ2LlxW-mn_Kwo/edit?usp=sharing

Lawmakers want to kill Florida toll road plans for Polk County (subscription only, full text below)
By Veronica Brezina-Smith
Tampa Bay Business Journal
A Senate bill is making its way through the Legislature that would potentially put multiple toll road projects on the chopping block — including one in Polk County.

Read the full article here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_3fwauZ7vMmqnGgDTQDbsfoJRRpd4W9Va-FCwJQrwhE/edit?usp=sharing

Transportation Special Report: FDOT’s progress, in motion (subscription only, full text below)
By Will Brown
Jacksonville Business Journal
The importance of transportation on Florida’s development did not dwindle due to a once-in-a-century pandemic. Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault indicated the Covid-19 pandemic has stressed the need for intergovernmental collaboration more than ever.

The shift comes as Florida is working to create one of the ten largest economies in the world.

Read the full article here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ywSnTlDKWhty3f4zjO1YNWI895R4iGsm/view?usp=sharing
Florida Senate votes to nix expensive toll roads through rural areas
By Jeffrey Schweers
Tallahassee Democrat
A bill to repeal an ambitious but controversial plan to build three new toll roads through mostly rural and environmentally sensitive lands along Florida’s west coast passed the Senate Thursday. The bill (SB 100), approved by a vote of 39-1, now must be heard and OK’d by the House before it can land on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk. Democratic state Sen. Janet Cruz of Tampa was the only ‘no‘ vote.

Florida Senate Scales Back Toll Road Plan, Including Suncoast Parkway Extension
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida via WUSF Tampa, Bradenton HeraldFox 13 Tampa Bay, likely others
The Florida Senate on Thursday approved a proposal to scale back a controversial toll-road plan that was a priority of a former Senate president. Senators voted 39-1 to pass a bill (SB 100) that would do away with much of the plan — dubbed the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, or M-CORES — pushed through in 2019 by then-President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton.

Senate repeals M-CORES toll road project, still no movement from House
By Jacob Ogles
Florida Politics
The repeal of a massive toll road expansion cleared the Senate Thursday.

Senate Advances MCORES Repeal
By Jake Stofan
Capitol News Service, WCJB GainesvilleWCTV Tallahassee, likely others
The Florida Senate is poised to pass legislation walking back plans for three major road construction projects signed into law just two years ago.

Florida Senate strikes blow against massive toll road expansion plan
By Alex Galbraith
Orlando Weekly
The state of Florida appeared willing and ready to spoil the precious few acres of undeveloped land left in service of toll roads back in 2019.

Lawmakers aim to replace massive toll-roads project with less-massive toll-roads project
By Laura Cassels
Florida Phoenix
Proposed road projects would cut through wild and rural areas beloved for natural beauty, as in the Lower Suwannee River National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Parts of a massive and controversial toll-road construction project through swaths of wild and rural Florida will likely go away — but that doesn’t mean there won’t be new toll roads or highways that would cost millions.

Senate bill gores M-CORES but doesn’t derail multi-billion Florida toll road plan
By John Haughey
The Center Square
A controversial multi-billion decade-long plan to build 330 miles of new toll roads is running out of fumes in Tallahassee with a fast-tracked measure to significantly scale it back ready for Senate adoption.

Key Senate committee signs off on toll roads repeal
By Jacob Ogles
Florida Politics
The Senate Appropriations Committee delivered a significant blow to a plan to extend toll roads in Florida. The committee approved legislation (SB 100) repealing the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, or M-CORES, plan. The move comes just two years after the plan was approved as a top legislative priority for past Senate President Bill Galvano.

Senate considers plan to scale back Florida toll road expansion
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida
Excerpt: Still, critics called for the bill to include more specific provisions to protect the environment and to limit the potential for urban sprawl. “This bill smartly recognizes that with limited resources, it is more fiscally prudent and less environmentally damaging to upgrade existing roads than to create new greenfield corridors,” said Lindsay Cross of the Florida Conservation Voters. “But at nearly 130 miles as the crow flies, from the Suncoast Parkway to I-10 in Madison County, there could still be significant impacts on our environment and rural communities.”

Off-roading: Amended toll roads repeal bill gets mostly favorable review
By Jeffrey Schweers
Tallahassee Democrat
A massive, expensive and controversial toll roads project is heading for a dead end, a prognosis hastened by economic reversals in the state caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

M-CORES repeal bill heads to Florida Senate floor
By Forrest Saunders
WPTV West Palm Beach, WFLX West Palm Beach
Florida lawmakers are second-guessing plans to build three major toll roads in the state. Thursday, members advanced a bill that would defund and repeal the controversial M-CORES (Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance) project. The policy now heads to the Senate floor.

Lawmakers agree on broadband access, differ on funding
Haley Brown
Florida Politics
Excerpt: Part of the funding for Ausley’s bill taps into Department of Transportation monies by taking advantage of a Florida statute that allows $5 million from the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES), a toll program, to be used for the development of broadband infrastructure near a multi-use corridor. But an amendment added in Monday’s meeting ended up sidestepping any further funding from M-CORES. The crux of the amendment adds a grant program to the initiative, an idea Ausley borrowed from House companion legislation (HB 753), sponsored by Rep. Chuck Clemons. But the two legislators differ on funding for the grant program. In Ausley’s bill, funding would be subject to appropriations, whereas funding in Clemon’s House bill comes from reallocating 50% of revenue currently allotted to M-CORES.

Four-County North Florida planning board supports legislation to stop toll road project
By Karen Murphy
The Capitolist
A four-county board consisting of elected officials from Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla, and Jefferson voted to send a message to state lawmakers supporting ongoing efforts to repeal legislation on the Suncoast Connector toll road that set a start date in 2022 and allocated tax dollars to the controversial project.

Bills could cancel planned highway from Polk to Collier
By Gary White
The Ledger
Excerpt: Environmentalists will be closely watching the progress of the bills. Ryan noted that Cris Costello, one of the leaders of the No Roads to Ruin coalition, is schedule to speak at a virtual meeting of Ancient Islands Sierra Club on Thursday. The coalition issued a statement Friday saying it cannot support Harrell’s bill in its current form because it leaves open the possibility of constructing a Northern Turnpike Connector. “Any expansion to existing roadways should depend upon the demonstration of need and fiscal feasibility while not negatively impacting our water and natural resources, rural communities, communities of color and agricultural lands,” the statement said. “We support a full repeal of M-CORES and its funding of all programs associated with the Southwest-Central, Northern Turnpike and Suncoast corridors through passage of SB 1030 and HB 763.”

Southwest-Central Florida Connector road project in jeopardy
By Taylor Smith and Jackie Winchester
WINK News
A group is fighting to make changes to a controversial road project, saying it could affect more wildlife than first thought. No Roads to Ruin, a coalition of more than 100 organizations, says that in addition to the impact on the habitat of Florida panthers, the Southwest-Central Florida Connector could affect manatees and water quality. It would run about 140 miles, from Polk County to Naples… Michael McGrath, who belongs to the Sierra Club and the No Roads to Ruin Coalition, says that’s why their coalition can’t fully support the new bill. “We won’t be satisfied until we see the full removal and stopping of all three,” he said. “Right now it only removes the south connector, but it still fails to remove the northern turnpike extension that would go through parts of Central Florida.” McGrath says it cuts right through the heart of panther habitat. “These are some of the most environmentally sensitive lands in our state,” he said. “It will be the nail in the coffin for the Florida panther.”

A Toll On Our Tolls
By Laura Tichy
Fort Myers Florida Weekly
Excerpt: The Florida Department of Transportation never provided a breakdown of how many comments were in favor and how many comments were opposed,” said Julianne Thomas, senior environmental planning specialist with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and a steering committee member of No Roads to Ruin, a coalition of groups opposed to the M-CORE roads. “So, No Roads to Ruin — the Sierra Club in particular — did public records requests to get those public comments, and we collated them ourselves. What we found out was that more than 93% of comments were against building the toll roads for one reason or another. To be fair to FDOT, these toll roads weren’t their idea. They were told in 2019 that they were going to do this project when the Legislature passed this bill to set up this task force. FDOT never claimed that these toll roads are needed.”

Bill for broadband internet grants uploaded to final committee, but M-CORES proposal carries implications
By Renzo Downey
Florida Politics
Lawmakers hope to leverage the Department of Economic Opportunity’s new Office of Broadband to expand high speed internet access in the state…To help fund the new program, the bill would reallocate 50% of revenue currently allotted to the program for new state toll roads — Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES). Lawmakers are rethinking the need to push for the three new toll roads proposed under the M-CORES program in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Florida Senate Committee Approves Major Changes To Proposed Toll Road Through North Central Florida
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida via WUFT Gainesville, WUSF TampaWJCT Jacksonville
Legislation to drop the southernmost of three planned toll-road projects, while revising plans for the other two, was backed by a divided Senate committee on Wednesday.

Florida’s toll road projects a ‘fiscal cliff,’ in serious trouble, lawmakers say
By Lawrence Mower
Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald
For the last two years, opponents of a controversial plan to build three new toll roads across Florida have been saying the projects aren’t needed and they’re too expensive.

Plans To Scrap Three Controversial Florida Toll Roads Advances In The Legislature
By Robbie Gaffney
WJCT Jacksonville, WLRN Miami
A republican-backed effort to repeal the construction of three controversial toll roads is moving forward in the legislature. It would open the door for two other projects to commence…The roads also angered environmentalists like Sierra Club Florida. The group’s Michael McGrath says the roads, as originally proposed, would cut through essential lands. “They go through some of the most ecologically and also environmentally sensitive lands here in Florida, put at risk our rural communities the possibility of bypassing them and also devastating our farm-lands throughout Florida,” McGrath says.

End of the road(s)? Repeal of Florida toll roads project clears first stop in Legislature
By Jeffrey Schweers
Tallahassee Democrat, Naples Daily News
A massive public works proposal to build three new toll roads through three separate rural corridors of Florida is heading for the nearest exit ramp.

Repeal of Florida toll roads project clears first stop in Legislature
By Jacob Ogles
Florida Politics
The M-CORES plan, which included extension of the Suncoast Parkway, passed in 2019.
It looks like plans for the Heartland Parkway may go back on the shelf.

Capitol Update – Nightly During Session – Wednesday, March 03, 2021 (video)
By Theresa Marsenburg
The Florida Channel
Coverage of M-CORES starts at 12:27.

Florida Bill To Repeal Toll Road Projects Clears Senate Transportation Committee
By Joe Byrnes
WMFE Orlando
The Florida Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday approved a Republican bill to repeal the 2019 law creating three massive toll road projects known as M-CORES.

Republican bill to dismantle Florida’s MCORES toll roads project on fast track
By Jeffrey Schweers
MSN via Tallahassee Democrat
State Sen. Gayle Harrell’s bill to repeal and defund the massive public works toll roads project known as MCORES is on the fast track toward approval.

Florida Senate Could Take Aim At Toll Road Plan
By Jim Saunders
News Service of Florida via WUSF Tampa, Florida PoliticsFox 35 OrlandoFox 51 Gainesville
Two years after Florida lawmakers approved a controversial toll-road plan, a Senate committee is slated next week to consider a bill that could undo major parts of it.

Polk’s senators have prominent roles as session begins
By Gary White
Lakeland Ledger
Excerpt: Like all other Polk legislators at the time, Stargel voted in 2019 for the bill authorizing the three toll roads of the M-CORES project. “I think it is going to be a challenge to continue on the path that we were last year,” she said. “Whether or not we put it on pause or how we redirect those funds hasn’t been decided, but it is going to be unlikely that we’re going to be able to fund M-CORES to the level that we did last year.”
Excerpt: Burgess had left the House before the Legislature passed a controversial measure directing the Florida Department of Transportation to build three new highways, including a toll road from Polk County to Collier County. Critics say the roads will cause environmental damage and will not alleviate congestion on existing highways. The Legislature allocated $135 million to the first stage of planning, and opponents have cited the financial crisis as a reason to scrap the project, officially known as M-CORES. “I wasn’t in the process when that happened, and honestly it hasn’t been really brought up to my attention in terms of should we revise something,” Burgess said. “I’m not saying it’s not happening. I know these conversations are out there, but I haven’t been a part of them.”

‘Imaginary threats’: Critics blast Gov. DeSantis’ State of the State address
Haley Brown
Florida Politics
Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, meanwhile, weighed in on the state’s $2 billion dollar pandemic-induced budget shortfall. “Our state budget is a statement of our values as Floridians,” he said. Smith called for an end to corporate tax breaks and tax cuts for voucher schools, repeal of the multi-billion dollar toll roads proposal known as M-CORES, the legalization and regulation of recreational marijuana and criminal justice reforms. “We’ll use those savings where it counts: investing in our small businesses, improving our public schools and colleges, modernizing roads and infrastructure, and creating jobs that actually pay a living wage,” Smith added.

Sierra Club Florida releases 2020 report card
By Jason Delgado
Florida Politics
Excerpt: Fried, meanwhile, received “A’s” in categories including Cabinet Votes and Responses to Other State Agency Actions — the latter category noted Fried’s opposition to Florida’s M-CORES project.

Bills Filed To Kill Three Proposed Toll Roads
By Steve Newborn
WUSF Tampa Bay, WJCT Jacksonville
Bills were filed Wednesday that would kill the plan to build three new toll roads through rural parts of Florida.

New bill could shut down FDOT’s Southwest-Central Connector toll road project
By Jennifer Kveglis
WBBH Fort Myers
Excerpt: “We know that there are Republicans who care about the environment, who care about fiscal responsibility so we’re hoping that we can get the right information in those representatives hands,” said Julianne Thomas, Senior Environmental Planner for The Conservancy of Southwest Florida and a key leader in the No Roads To Ruin Coalition.

Democratic lawmakers want to kill controversial toll ‘roads to nowhere’ M-CORES plan
By Jeffrey Schweers
Tallahassee Democrat
Citing environmental and fiscal challenges, two South Florida lawmakers are introducing legislation to kill an ambitious yet controversial toll-road building plan dubbed by opponents as “roads to nowhere.”

Bill put forward to repeal toll road projects
By Karen Murphy
The Capitolist
Legislation was put forward today to stop the construction of several toll roads and other projects that are part of the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) Program.

Measure in Florida Legislature would halt toll roads project (subscription only; full text below)
Staff Report
News Service of Florida via Jacksonville Business Journal, Lake City ReporterHighlands News-Sun, likely others
Florida Sen. Tina Polsky, a Boca Raton Democrat, has filed legislation that would halt a controversial series of toll roads that are now part of the state Department of Transportation’s five-year work program.

The proposal (SB 1030) would remove multi-use corridors from state statutes, in what Polsky said Wednesday would be a secondary method of blocking the roads. The projects are formally known as Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, or M-CORES.

During a video conference with reporters, Polsky said she also hopes lawmakers do away with funding for the roads, which are projected to require up to $101.7 million a year.

“With the kind of financial outlook that we have, we kind of have no choice,” Polsky said Wednesday. “This isn’t just a clear and present need. We’ve got things like healthcare in front of us that are life or death situations. And so, even if you are in favor of these roads, it’s certainly not an immediate need.”

Lawmakers in 2019 approved moving forward with the projects to extend the Suncoast Parkway from Citrus County to Jefferson County near the Georgia border, extend Florida’s Turnpike from Wildwood to connect with the Suncoast Parkway and create a new road linking Polk and Collier counties.

A priority of former Senate President Bill Galvano, the roads are in the Florida Department of Transportation’s $9.47 billion five-year work program.

Gov. Ron DeSantis didn’t alter the work program as part of his $96.6 billion proposed state spending plan for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

The roads have been backed by major business lobbying groups as a way to bring economic opportunity, along with utilities including broadband, to rural communities.

The schedule remains for construction on the roads to begin in December 2022. Members of the Senate Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee were advised Wednesday the roads are each undergoing needs determinations.

Economic and environmental feasibility studies would be conducted if a need is found for any part of the roads. Rep. Ben Diamond, a St. Petersburg Democrat who said he is filing a companion to Polsky’s bill, said Wednesday that lawmakers need to be realistic about the state budget and mindful of the impact of the toll roads on rural Florida.

“We have some very important transportation projects, such as the interchange between (Interstate) 275 and West Shore, which is sort of a key interchange in Tampa Bay,” Diamond told reporters during the video conference. “The Florida Department of Transportation has pushed that back by two years because they’re short on money.”

Polsky’s proposal has been filed for consideration during the 2021 legislative session that begins March 2. Florida lawmakers are beginning to craft the annual state budget as they gather for committee meetings in advance of the session.

Commission adopts “NO BUILD” Option on any portion of the Suncoast Connector Toll Highway that might be built in Gilchrist
Staff Report
Gilchrist County Journal
The Gilchrist County Commission held their first public meeting in February on Monday at 4 p.m. The five-member board adopted Resolution 2021-02 which opposes the new construction of the proposed Florida toll road (M-Cores Suncoast Connector) up through Gilchrist County.

New poll reveals balancing act for DeSantis, Legislature
By Gary Fineout
Politico Playbook
Excerpt: What to cut? — In other budget-related matters, 60 percent oppose building new toll roads, which have been proposed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and supported by the governor. When asked about possible items to cut from the budget, 28 percent cited Everglades restoration even though it remains a top focus of DeSantis. This item drew more support than several other suggestions, including state worker salaries and transportation projects. One of DeSantis other priorities — a bill increasing penalties on protesters — had 64 percent support.

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 2.3.21
By Peter Schorsch
Florida Politics
Excerpt: Assignment editors — Sen. Tina Polsky and Rep. Ben Diamond will host a virtual news conference to voice their opposition to the M-CORES toll road projects, 12:30 p.m., Zoom and Facebook Live. Press can RSVP to Matthew.Herndon@MyFloridaHouse.gov to receive a Zoom link.

Ron DeSantis proposes Florida budget bigger than last year, defying pandemic
By Lawrence Mower, Mary Ellen Klas, Ana Ceballos and Kirby Wilson
Tampa Bay Times
Excerpt: Instead, DeSantis’ budget maintains, and in several cases exceeds, last year’s funding in key areas, including education and the environment…It would preserve more than $700 million for planning and designing more than 300 miles of controversial new toll roads over the next five years.

Money and politics could doom the Florida panther — and the Endangered Species Act.
By Jimmy Tobias
Type Investigations
Excerpt: The ECPO plan, it’s worth noting, does not stand alone. It comes alongside other development in the area, including a proposed state toll road that panther advocates oppose.

Not directly related to M-CORES but noteworthy:
Interstate 4 lawsuit details heavy losses, alleged misconduct, builder discord
By Kevin Spear
Orlando Sentinel
Marked by deaths, delays and driver angst, the massive reconstruction of Interstate 4 also is at a financial abyss, according to a claim by one of the nation’s biggest road builders that it tried to bail out of the job to cut staggering losses but was blocked by misconduct of the company in charge…Starting up in 2015, the $2.4 billion “I-4 Ultimate” project already has cost the public an extra $125 million, an additional year of construction aggravation and has seen five workers killed on the job. Florida’s transportation department declined to comment on whether the lawsuit portends further delays, construction problems or inflated costs for taxpayers.

Killing FL barge canal 50 years ago offers lessons for stopping toll roads
By Craig Pittman
Florida Phoenix
Seeing Richard Nixon’s name popping up in news coverage of the second Trump impeachment has made me so nostalgic for my teen years, I may break out in pimples all over again.

After Bad Reviews, Toll Road Plans Again Before Florida Legislators
By Steve Bousquet
WFSU Tallahassee, WUSF TampaWLRN MiamiWJCT JacksonvilleWFIT Space Coast,
For much of the past year, state transportation officials heard strong opposition to plans for three major new toll roads in Florida.

M-CORES, sales tax and nude beaches. Pinellas residents give ideas to fix $2 billion budget woe.
By Daniel Figueroa IV
WMNF Tampa Bay
Excerpt: Another quick way to recoup billions brought up by conservationists and environmental groups was dumping Florida’s beleaguered M.CORES program. The project would put three toll roads through rural part of Florida. And it could cost anywhere from a few billion to nearly $30 billion dollars. It’s received widespread criticism for adverse environmental and fiscal impacts, but the State is so far moving forward. Hailey Bush of 1,000 Friends of Florida said lawmakers should scrap funding for the project. She said they could divert billions to areas with more pressing concerns. “We hope that you will support or sponsor legislation to protect Florida’s environment and our budget by critically assessing the M-CORES toll road proposal,” Bush said.

Legislative Preview: What to Watch for as Lawmakers Meet in March
By Elizabeth Djinis
Sarasota Magazine
Excerpt: One of the big questions for this year’s legislative session will center on the three toll roads championed by former Senate President, Manatee County’s Bill Galvano. Will they get built now that Galvano has left office?…Proponents say Florida’s growing population and traffic congestion make them a necessity. Environmentalists say they will encroach on land for wildlife. Public comments have been against them. Even the task forces assigned to study the roads are not sure whether they are needed. One thing’s for certain: These toll roads will face steep opposition if they do get the green light.

Senate Democrats press Kevin Thibault for M-CORES details
By Renzo Downey
Florida Politics
Democratic senators grilled the state’s top transportation official Tuesday on whether his department will proceed with the process on building three new toll roads in Florida.

Despite strong summer, senators prepare for frugal budget
By Renzo Downey
Florida Politics
Excerpt: Infrastructure projects, including the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES), could see delays, she added, with road focuses going mainly to “potholes.” M-CORES was a priority for recently retired Senate President Bill Galvano, and Democrats have continued mounting pressure against the three proposed toll roads. “They’ll still probably continue at some point, but I don’t know how much they’ll be funded in this year’s budget,” Stargel said. “We just don’t have the funds.”

DeSantis reaches midpoint of his term as governor, facing a Florida changed by COVID-19 and divided on his leadership
By John Kennedy
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Excerpt: Three new toll roads, which DeSantis signed into law, also is a big-ticket spending item that Simpson has warned may have to be sidelined because of the state’s financial woes.

South Florida 100: COVID vaccine problems and Capitol building riots
Staff Report
South Florida Sun Sentinel
Excerpt: Lori Berman, member, Florida Senate: This week marks our first committee week in advance of the 2021 legislative session. On the agenda for the Transportation Committee is an update on M-CORES, a proposed stretch of new toll roads from Collier County to the Florida Panhandle. This stems back to a bill we heard in 2019. The legislation was flawed from the beginning and negates the requirement that the environment and rural communities would be protected. All signs point in the direction these roads are leading: urban sprawl and environmental ruin. I look forward to asking important questions.

1/12/21 Senate Committee on Transportation
Video coverage
The Florida Channel
Coverage from Tuesday’s Senate Transportation Committee Workshop. Q and A from the committee starts at 1:52:14.

3 Florida toll road projects will get Senate panel scrutiny next week
Staff Report
News Service of Florida via Orlando Sentinel, Highland News-SunLake City Reporter
Three proposed toll road projects that critics consider unneeded will get attention next week from the Senate Transportation Committee.

Senate Transportation Committee scheduled to talk toll roads next week
By Jason Delgado
Florida Politics
The Senate Transportation Committee next week will discuss several controversial toll road projects planned in Florida.

Commissioners say “no” to toll road
By Lazaro Aleman
ECB Publishing
The Jefferson County Commission has now adopted a resolution expressing opposition to the Suncoast Connector toll road and requesting that the state not build any portion of the proposed highway in Jefferson County.

SCCF shares priorities with Lee County Legislative Delegation
By SCCF
Sanibel Captiva Island Reporter
Excerpt: The priorities for 2021 include…Water quality projects, such as updating statewide stormwater standards, reinstatement of the Works of the District (source pollution control projects), and opposing the M-CORES toll road project.

What Will Florida Politics Look Like In 2021?
By Dinorah Prevost
WUSF Tampa Bay, WUWF Pensacola
Excerpt: “You saw, for example, outgoing Senate President Bill Galvano. He’s from Manatee County and he did bring some money for road projects and other local projects in the Manatee and Sarasota area. Now, that was under a much better economic circumstances. I think it will be more difficult (now),” Anderson said. But under this new leadership, Anderson said we may see the nixing of the controversial toll roads projects throughout the state. Simpson is a farmer from Pasco County and Anderson said that could have an effect on those projects. “There’s been discussion that Senate President William Simpson might not be as interested in funding some of these roads,” he said. “So it’s not clear that these are going to continue, and … the fact that the budget is struggling and that these roads would be expensive could help environmentalists make their case that they should go away.”

Major boondoggle? National public-interest group rips FL’s toll-road plans; state says, too soon to judge
By Laura Cassels
Florida Phoenix, Florida Patch
The Florida Legislature’s controversial plan to build three major toll highways through rural landscapes is a “boondoggle” of the first order, says the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), which named it among the nation’s top seven transportation boondoggles for the year.

The ‘Highway Boondoggles’ That the Pandemic Hasn’t Killed
By Laura Bliss
Bloomberg
Excerpt: The largest on the list is Florida’s M-CORES project, a $10 billion, 330-mile plan to build three toll roads through rural southwest and central Florida. Dubbed the “Billionaire Boulevard” by critics who characterize the project as a handout to developers, a state task force recently found a lack of “specific need” for any of the roads, which would run through environmentally sensitive areas.

Report Describes State Toll Roads Plan As “Expensive, Damaging and Wasteful”
By Amy Green
WMFE Orlando
A new report names a state plan to build some 330 miles of new toll roads through rural Florida as one of seven so-called “highway boondoggles” nationwide.

PIRG report says $1.1B for Florida toll road ‘boondoggle’ is ‘veto-proof’
By John Haughey
The Center Square
The Florida Legislature’s tentative multibillion dollar plan to build 330 miles of toll roads across the state by 2030 has drawn criticism within the state as a wasteful and needless degradation of habitat in environmentally sensitive areas.

Close corporate tax loopholes, build clean energy economy to rescue Florida from COVID impacts
By Anna Eskamani
Florida Today
Excerpt: And I know exactly how we can pay for my legislative proposal. This session, the legislature and governor must reject the $20 billion, developer-driven, sprawl-inducing pet project known as the “Multiuse Corridors of Regional and Economic Significance,” or M-CORES. Floridians do not need 330 miles of empty toll roads through cow pastures and conservation lands. Floridians need investments in sustainable energy and stable jobs that combat the long-term and devastating consequences of climate change.

Commissioner eyes infrastructure as a way to increase growth
By Travis Anderson
South Central Florida Life
Excerpt: McDaniel cited the recent completion of the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) report. According to McDaniel, one option the taskforce is now looking at is widening State Road 29 on both ends of Immokalee and adding a toll to generate funds to pay for the project. Widening the existing roadway would minimize impact on the natural environment and would be less of an impact to local wildlife.

Note: not directly related to M-CORES but noteworthy:
Coronavirus delays Tampa Bay road projects, including West Shore interchange
By Caitlin Johnston
Tampa Bay Times
State transportation officials are prepared to delay billions of dollars worth of transportation projects after the economy was hit hard by COVID-19.

Halt Funding For Florida’s New Toll Roads After Coronavirus Setbacks, Environmentalists Urge
By Jessica Meszaros
WUSF Tampa, WJCT JacksonvilleWFIT Melbourne
In 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law three new toll roads that would run from the state’s border with Georgia down to Southwest Florida, and three task forces appointed to study the roads delivered their reports to the governor and legislature in November.

M-CORES expansion makes national list of top US highway boondoggles
Press Release
Florida PIRG
Related: Report summary and download
U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group have added Florida’s M-CORES expansion, an over $10.3 billion, 330-mile, three-highway construction project, to a list of the country’s top highway boondoggles in a new report. Among the seven wasteful highway projects identified in the report Highway Boondoggles 6, no project would saddle a state with greater debt and irreversible environmental degradation than Florida’s M-CORES project.

Budget crunch could stall Florida’s new toll road program
By Shelly Sigo
The Bond Buyer
Florida’s controversial trio of planned toll roads and the expected state budget shortfall will give lawmakers a lot to prioritize during next year’s legislative session.

DOT Task Forces Don’t Back Toll Roads; Recommend More Economic, Environmental Studies
By Beverly Bidney
The Seminole Tribune
Three Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) task forces wrapped up more than a year of meetings and open houses to consider how three MultiUse Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) could be built in rural areas of the state.

What’s next for Florida’s controversial toll road projects? Here are three ways they could be stopped.
By Lawrence Mower
Tampa Bay Times, Miami HeraldBradenton Herald
The three groups authorized to make recommendations on a controversial proposal to build 330 new miles of toll roads in Florida finished their reports on Thursday.

Florida toll road reports get mixed reviews from environmental groups
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida via Lakeland Ledger, Daytona Beach News-JournalCitrus County ChronicleHighlands News-SunFox 35 Orlando,
Excerpt: The reports drew a quick rebuke from a coalition of nearly 100 conservation groups and businesses that contend the review process has been flawed, favoring special interests over the needs of Floridians. “Spending any more time or resources on M-CORES (Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, as the projects are dubbed) comes at the expense of completing a backlog of water quality and transportation infrastructure upgrades that address current needs,” the No Roads to Ruin Coalition said in a news release. “Investing in outdated transportation and urban sprawl development models is an irresponsible approach for a state on the front lines of climate change. Florida’s rapidly growing population depends on the environmental and agricultural resources that will be destroyed if these roads are built.” Among the coalition members are Earthjustice, the Sierra Club, Speak Up Wekiva!, the League of Women Voters of Florida, Friends of the Everglades, the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Florida Springs Council and Florida Conservation Voters.

Nikki Fried urges stop sign for toll road projects
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida via Florida Politics, Tampa Bay TimesOrlando SentinelSarasota Herald-TribuneGainesville SunLakeland LedgerWFSU TallahasseeWUSF TampaWJCT JacksonvilleWWSB SarasotaCreative Loafing Tampa BayTampa Bay Business JournalHighland News-SunMyPanhandle.com, others
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried wants the state to put the brakes on a series of controversial toll road projects as lawmakers face budget shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Florida Toll Roads Final Report On Its Way To Gov. DeSantis
By Steve Newborn
WUSF Tampa, WUWF Pensacola
Excerpt: Lindsay Cross, of the environmental advocacy group Florida Conservation voters, says the vast majority of public comments — they estimated 93% — were against the need for the roads. “The Department of Transportation was never able to provide the data and information to the task force members to validate why these new roads are needed,” Cross said. “And therefore the final reports are invalid because the whole framework for them was not successful.” Opposition groups formed No Roads To Ruin, saying there are no studies saying there is a need for a road. They particularly assailed the Southwest Connector as a threat to the endangered Florida panther. They want the state to exercise its no-build option.

Final report from M-Cores task force sent to Governor Desantis
By Jillian Ramos
WFTS Tampa Bay
A final report on a highly controversial toll road plan is now being sent to the governor’s office, a release stated on Thursday.

FL Senate elects new president, Wilton Simpson, who pledges to cut spending amid pandemic
By Laura Cassels
Florida Phoenix
Excerpt: Also under scrutiny, he said, are “big projects in the budgets” such as outgoing Senate President Bill Galvano’s controversial pet project to build large expensive toll highways through swaths of undeveloped Florida. The Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, or M-CORES, would consume more than $100 million in the coming budget year. “You have to ask yourself, can you afford that in this moment? And those are questions that will be asked” Simpson told reporters.

Reports on Florida’s biggest road building proposal in decades on DeSantis’ desk
By John Haughey
The Center Square
Excerpt: M-CORES is widely opposed, including by the 80-member No Roads to Ruin coalition, which is spearheaded by Sierra Club, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Florida Policy Institute, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast and the League of Women Voters. The coalition said Friday the delivery of the reports to DeSantis is “nothing to celebrate.” “The entire M-CORES process has been flawed and represents a callous preference for special interests and developers over what is best for the people of Florida,” the coalition said. During the three task forces’ 15 months of public hearings, the coalition said 93% of 10,000 public comments opposed the projects. “Spending any more time or resources on M-CORES comes at the expense of completing a backlog of water quality and transportation infrastructure upgrades,” No Roads To Ruin said. “Investing in outdated transportation and urban sprawl development models is an irresponsible approach for a state on the front lines of climate change.”

Florida toll road planning moves forward, with mixed reviews
By Briona Arradondo
Fox 13 Tampa Bay
The Florida Department of Transportation is looking over plans sent to the governor’s office this month, outlining possible toll roads through major parts of the state. The Tampa Bay area is included in some of the potential planning.

Florida task force M-CORES report finds no ‘specific need’ for toll roads
By Tyson Fisher
Land Line (trucking industry publication)
Excerpt: No Roads to Ruin Coalition, another opposition group, says the final reports “are nothing to celebrate.” The coalition calls the process flawed. “The governor and Florida Legislature based this on erroneous claims that the creation of unnecessary toll roads are the path to economic prosperity, safety, and environmental protection,” No Roads to Ruin Coalition said in a statement. “Spending any more time or resources on M-CORES comes at the expense of completing a backlog of water quality and transportation infrastructure upgrades that address current needs. Investing in outdated transportation and urban sprawl development models is an irresponsible approach for a state on the front lines of climate change. Florida’s rapidly growing population depends on the environmental and agricultural resources that will be destroyed if these roads are built.” According to the coalition, 93% of the nearly 10,000 public comments submitted opposed M-CORES. The coalition is calling for a full repeal of the legislation in the upcoming legislative session.

Comments by Commissioner Nikki Fried, Task Force Appointees on Florida M-CORES Toll Road Project
Press Release
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
This week, three M-CORES Task Forces submitted their final reports to the Governor on the development of a new 330-mile toll road system in Florida.

Florida toll roads task force reports sent to Gov. DeSantis, House and Senate leaders
By Jeffrey Schweers
Tallahassee Democrat, Lakeland Ledger
Excerpt: Some environmental groups had criticized the process as a foregone conclusion because of the way the legislation creating M-CORES was written, while others have called the proposed highways “toll roads to nowhere.” “The entire M-CORES process has been flawed and represents a callous preference for special interests and developers over what is best for Florida,” said Jon Bleyer of Progress Florida, speaking for the No Roads to Ruin Coalition Steering Committee. The Florida Conservation Voters said it would work with other groups to try to convince the Legislature to amend the law creating the roads in the upcoming 2020 legislative session, which begins in March.

DOT delivers final M-CORES task force reports to Gov. DeSantis
By Renzo Downey
Florida Politics
Excerpt: In a statement following FDOT’s delivery to the Governor, the coalition issued a statement calling the reports “nothing to celebrate.” “The entire M-CORES process has been flawed and represents a callous preference for special interests and developers over what is best for the people of Florida,” according to the coalition. About 93% of the nearly 10,000 public comments during the public input period were negative, the group determined earlier this year. “Spending any more time or resources on M-CORES comes at the expense of completing a backlog of water quality and transportation infrastructure upgrades that address current needs,” they added. “Investing in outdated transportation and urban sprawl development models is an irresponsible approach for a state on the front lines of climate change.”

New brush truck dedicated to Alexander W. Hudson III, Friend, Brother and Leader of Trenton Fire Dept.
By John Ayers
Gilchrist County Journal
Excerpt: The Trenton Commission received an M-CORES update from David Haight; a consulting planning engineer working with the Florida Department of Transportation on the M-CORES project involving the 41-member Task Force committee that is recently completed the Final Report. Mr. Haight explained that the Final Report will be submitted to the FL Governor by November 15, 2020. The next six to eight months phase of the M-CORES project will give the FDOT and the consulting planners time to continue working with the public to finalize a route that will be made public in the near future.

Ignoring Legislature, Central Florida voters say clean water is a right
By Craig Pittman
Florida Phoenix
Excerpt: “We are stopping local cities and counties from doing something that will hurt business, the taxpayers, the tax base.” In other words, development is good for you, and anything that stands in its way is bad. Ingoglia also contended that Gov. Ron DeSantis – you know, the guy who wants to build three expensive new toll roads that would destroy habitat for panthers and other wildlife – was already doing enough to help the environment and so there was no need to do more.

State Says It Doesn’t Have to Plow New Ground for Toll Road
By Terry Wit
Spotlight on Levy County
A representative of the Florida Department of Transportation Tuesday said the final report for the Suncoast Connector indicates there isn’t a need to carve the proposed toll road out of forests and farmlands.

M-Cores Taskforce Update
Staff Report
Florida Farm Bureau of Polk County
Florida Farm Bureau Federation was an active participant over the past year on the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) Southwest Florida Task Force, the Northern Turnpike Task Force, and the Suncoast Task Force.

Toll road recommendations draw mixed reactions
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida via WMBB Panama City, Fox 35 OrlandoLake City ReporterTampa Bay Business JournalDaily Business Review
Recommendations approved this week about controversial toll-road projects planned to run through rural areas of Florida drew mixed reactions from two environmental groups that participated in task forces that reviewed the projects.

Still no public mandate for toll road from Polk to Collier counties
By Tom Palmer
The Ledger
Now that the task force meetings involving a proposal to build a toll road between Polk County and the Naples area have concluded, it’s time to take stock.

Proposed toll road from Polk to Collier now in hands of state agency
Gary White
The Ledger
As a public official and a business leader, Nathaniel Birdsong has attended plenty of lengthy meetings during his career.

Task force to deliver report about potential corridor from Collier to Polk
Staff Report
Business Observer
The Southwest-Central Florida Connector, a proposed highway from Collier to Polk counties, could move forward in the next few months. Or not.

Sumter County administrator offers update on possible Florida Turnpike expansion
By Marv Balousek
The Villages News
A westward extension of the Florida Turnpike could follow State Road 44.

Environmental Round Up, Week ending Oct. 24
By Valerie Vande Panne
WGCU Fort Myers
Excerpt: Closer to home, if you are a follower of the ongoing M-CORES plans for building toll roads throughout Florida, such as one road through endangered Florida panther habitat, a recent EPA rollback could mean if the roads are constructed, they would made from toxic phosphate mining waste. Craig Pittman at the Florida Phoenix has more.

Florida transportation head says not building controversial toll roads remains possibility
By Jeffrey Schweers
Tallahassee Democrat, The LedgerWinter Haven News Chief
The next planning phase for three controversial toll road projects could begin next year, Florida Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault told a group of reporters during a brief news conference Tuesday.

Public pushback on M-CORES highlights risk to panthers
By Daniel Figueroa IV
WNNF Tampa Bay
Public pushback against proposed toll highways through rural Florida continues to focus on conservation and protecting Florida’s struggling panther population.

Toll road task force meets for last time, finalizes report
By Karl Schneider
Naples Daily News
The task force assigned to the southernmost portion of a statewide toll road system met for the last time Monday to finalize its report to the state Legislature.

FDOT, M-CORES hosts meeting about new corridors
Staff Report
WCJB Gainesville
The Florida Department of Transportation and M-CORES discussed the potential economic and environmental impacts of corridors being developed throughout Florida including north central Florida.

FDOT Secretary says all options are still on the table for M-CORES projects
By Mark Berryman
Chiefland Citizen
FDOT Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. held a virtual press conference as part of the final meetings for the M-CORES Task Forces, outlining what has been accomplished and what is yet to come.

M-CORES: SWC Corridor Taskforce Rolls Back FDOT’s Vision of Consensus
By Stew Lilker
Columbia County Observer
On Monday, from 9:00 am to 11:07 pm, the South West Central (SWC) M-CORES Task Force met in its final session to agree on a report to send to the Florida Legislature. DOT did not get the stamp of approval it wanted.

Glades puts off supporting planned state toll road
By Chris Felker
South Central Florida Life
County commissioners were asked to endorse a resolution backing the M-CORES selection of the Southwest Central Florida Corridor — where a new Florida’s Turnpike extension from Polk County to Southwest Florida is planned — but declined to on Oct. 13 and put off further consideration for two weeks.

State covered up opposition to toll road, group says
By Betsy Calvert
Port Charlotte Sun
A coalition of citizen and environmental groups finds public opposition is overwhelming to a giant toll road proposed through the length of Florida.

Toll Road Disapproval Continues
By Zach Cohen
WUFT Gainesville
There hasn’t been much support for the state’s proposed toll roads across northern and central Florida. Roughly 7% of responding Florida residents support building a new toll road, as revealed in M-CORES’ final task force meeting.

DOT secretary says ‘no build’ among toll road alternatives to be studied (behind paywall)
By Bruce Ritchie
Politico
Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault said Tuesday that three panels studying proposed new toll roads were never supposed to draw proposed routes for the roads but were only to make “high level” recommendations.

Tripp: ethics important, new toll roads outdated and unnecessary (behind paywall)
By Robert Miller
Highlands News-Sun
Even with 30 years as an educator and a master’s degree under her belt, Florida House of Representatives District 55 candidate Linda Tripp knows that being a first-time candidate comes with its own learning curve.

EPA keeps public in dark about building roads from phosphate’s radioactive waste – so we can better see the eerie glow?
By Craig Pittman
Florida Phoenix
Florida’s highways have frequently been built on a foundation of chicanery and political foolishness. We’ve got toll roads that were built using fudged financial figures (Looking at you, Polk Parkway and Suncoast Parkway). We’ve got a Bridge to Nowhere that was built purely to benefit the then-speaker of the House but then went bankrupt (Hi there, Garcon Point Bridge). We’ve got a trio of expensive highways now under consideration that are opposed by the public but supported by wealthy roadbuilders and the politicians who took their campaign contributions. But now we may soon see Florida roads that are built on something new: radioactive waste from phosphate mines.

Opponents question information on toll roads
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida via Tampa Bay Times, WMBB Panama CityFlorida PoliticsPoliticoLake City ReporterWUFT GainesvilleWFIT Space CoastCreative Loafing Tampa BayThe CapitolistOrlando Weekly, likely others
Critics of three controversial toll-road projects planned to run through rural areas of Florida contend transportation officials aren’t providing a full picture of the opposition.

Toll Roads Opposition Minimized, Group Says
By Steve Newborn and Jim Turner
News Service of Florida via WUSF Tampa
Excerpt: Jon Bleyer, of the group Progress Florida, said “FDOT is set to release final task force reports by November 15, 2020 and we expect the fact that 93 percent of all public comments were in opposition to M-CORES to be included in those reports. Task force members have a duty to take the public’s overwhelming opposition into consideration as they finalize their report and recommendations to the Legislature and the Governor.”

Thousands of public comments show overwhelming opposition to M-CORES toll-road projects
By Laura Cassels
Florida Phoenix
More than 90 percent of people who commented on proposed construction of three massive toll roads through rural Florida oppose the plan, according to an analysis of the nearly 10,000 comments gleaned from public records…“The people who are against the roads talk about protecting our water and our wild places, habitats for panthers, black bears and numerous birds. They talk about protecting our farms, ranches and our rural way of life,” said Kim Wheeler, founder of Rural Levy Says No Toll Roads.

Environmentalists fighting against Collier toll road project
By Christy Soto
NBC Fort Myers
The Florida Department of Transportation is hitting the throttle advancing their M-CORES Project, but many Floridians, even Collier County leaders, are asking them to pump the breaks.

M-CORES: 93% of the Public Against, Rural Florida at Risk, FDOT On-The-Spot
Press Release
No Roads To Ruin Coalition via Columbia County Observer, Cedar Key News
After 15 months of public meetings, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), on behalf of the M-CORES Task Force, has collected almost 10,000 public comments regarding the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES). Ninety-three percent of those making comments were opposed to the proposed corridors, which are to have a new toll running through each.

Florida wants feedback on M-CORES proposed toll highways
By Seán Kinane
WMNF Tampa Bay
Excerpt: For more on M-CORES and these proposed toll highways, WMNF spoke with Lindsay Cross, she’s government relations director with Florida Conservation Voters.

Task Force could not agree on need for a giant toll road
By Betsy Calvert
Port Charlotte Sun
It wasn’t a ringing endorsement. More than 100 task force members, including three from Charlotte County, will meet one more time in October to debate a draft final report on the 330-mile toll road proposed from Collier County to the Georgia border.

Collier commissioners show M-CORES support, with conditions
By Karl Schneider
Naples Daily News
Collier commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday in support of the county’s portion of a statewide toll road system with a contingency: it does not interfere with already slated transportation improvements.

Note: not related to M-CORES but some clear parallels here:
Saving Split Oak Forest: A Bruising Environmental Battle on the Ballot
By Kevin Spear
Orlando Sentinel
Hidden in shady solitude of Split Oak Forest is an oak tree cleaved in half, perhaps by lightning or its own monumental girth.

Residents in path of Florida toll road react to report with fear, acceptance and anticipation
By Jeffrey Schweers
USA Today Network-Florida Capital Bureau
Jim and Joann Thomas studied the maps and charts for the Suncoast Connector on display at the Gilchrist County Women’s Club, curious about the proposed 150-mile toll road that may one day run through their community.

Want to see the final report of the toll road? Available online through October 14.
By Lazaro Aleman
ECB Publishing
A draft of the Final Report that the Suncoast Connector Task Force plans to submit to the Florida Governor and Legislature In mid November is now available online for public viewing and comment.

Reports question need for tolls and other projects in Florida
By Tyson Fisher
Land Line (note: a trucking industry magazine)
Florida’s Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance program has released three draft task force reports, each of which questions the need for the projects, including a controversial toll in each corridor.

Public scrutiny ahead for Florida’s massive bond-financed toll road program
By Shelly Sigo
The Bond Buyer
Floridians have an opportunity to say what they think about the largest bond-financed toll road program proposed in the state in decades. Will the feedback matter, though, with a mandate in state law that says “to the maximum extent feasible” road construction must begin by Dec. 31, 2022?

One more meeting for M-CORES
By Mark Berryman
Chiefland Citizen
Brian Brooker, representing the M-CORES Suncoast Parkway, offered commissioners an update on the project.

Democrat Laura Novosad challenges Republican Lauren Melo for vacated Florida District 80 seat
By Liz Freeman
Naples Daily News
She said one example of a project that should be tabled for a while is the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, referred to as M-CORES, that would involve three toll roads from Collier to Polk counties. “Let’s think about how we are spending our money,” Novosad said. “We are in real trouble, and with evictions and foreclosures (coming), we will be in deeper trouble.” Melo has a different view of the toll roads project. “It’s important to keep up with infrastructure needs,” she said. “We have all seen the issues a couple years back when it comes to evacuating South Florida and also the endless I-4 construction in Central Florida that is a result of getting a little behind the curve with infrastructure.”

Drake Buckman, Fiona McFarland preach independence but stake out party positions
By Jacob Ogles
Florida Politics
A debate between Drake Buckman and Fiona McFarland in House District 72 showed both candidates calling for less partisanship. But both also largely sided with positions taken by party leadership in Tallahassee. Buckman, a Sarasota Democrat, slammed a planned toll road through the Florida Heartland.

Galvano defends controversial toll-road plans
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida via Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Tampa Bay TimesBradenton HeraldFlorida PoliticsLake City ReporterWUSF TampaWJCT JacksonvilleWFIT Melbourne, likely others
Senate President Bill Galvano defended controversial toll-road plans he’s pushed for nearly two years, after task forces released draft reports Tuesday indicating they were unable to determine if there is a need for the projects.

Questions remain on Florida toll road projects
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida via Fox 35 Orlando, WFSU TallahasseeCreative Loafing Tampa BayTampa Bay Business JournalFlorida Politics
With a mid-November deadline looming, task forces have been unable to determine if there is a need for three controversial toll-road projects they have been reviewing for more than a year.

Task forces: Florida’s $10B toll-road plan is a ‘want,’ not a ‘need’
By John Haughey
The Center Square
Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature wants to spend up to $10 billion to build 340 miles of toll roads by 2030, the state’s largest highway project in more than 60 years. But that “want” is not a “need,” so say three regional task forces after a year of studying the Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) plan lawmakers approved in 2019.

Report: Polk-to-Collier toll road shouldn’t plow new path
By Gary White
The Ledger
During eight meetings over more than a year, discussions of a toll road terminating in Polk County have focused as much on where it will not go as where it might go.

FDOT: Can’t recommend SW Connector
By Phil Attinger
Highlands News-Sun
State officials’ draft report on the Florida Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) program and a proposed Southwest-Central Florida Connector don’t support that road.

Public input wanted for toll road from Collier County to Polk County
Staff Report
WINK News
The task force responsible for developing a toll road, the Southwest-Central Florida Connector between Collier and Polk counties, is asking for your concerns.

Report Confirms Southwest Central Connector Would Harm Florida Panther
By Valerie Vande Panne
WGCU Fort Myers
It’s a long road with a long name: Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, or M-CORES as it’s commonly referred to, the Southwest Central Corridor Connector toll road.

Trenton hosting open house to discuss the Suncoast Connector tomorrow
By Suzette Cook
Main Street Daily News Gainesville
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is hosting a public meeting on Sept. 29th from 5:30 p.m. in Trenton to share information about the Florida Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) Suncoast Connector, which extends from Citrus County to Jefferson County.

Task force navigates Florida panther protection during toll road meeting
By Karl Schneider
Naples Daily News
Car collisions are the deadliest reported threat for the endangered Florida panther, and the public rallied behind the state animal during a task force meeting Wednesday for the southern section of a proposed statewide toll road system.

Environmentalists say new toll road would threaten Florida panthers

By Zachary T. Sampson | Tampa Bay Times

A major toll road project would worsen an already bad situation for endangered Florida panthers, according to a report released Tuesday by The Nature Conservancy in Florida, which reasserts environmentalists’ opposition to the highway expansion.

Proposed Toll Road Would Harm Florida Panthers, Report Says

By Jessica Meszaros | WUSF Tampa, WJCT Jacksonville

A study says the road planned between Polk and Collier counties would undo all the progress that has been made in the past 25 years for endangered Florida panthers by state and federal agencies.

Still no answers from task forces looking into proposed Florida toll roads
By Jeffrey Schweers | Tallahassee Democrat
More than a year after convening, the three toll road task forces charged by the Florida Legislature to evaluate and make recommendations on the state’s most ambitious public works project in decades still have no answers to fundamental questions.

Study says new roads won’t fix Florida
By Betsy Calvert | The Arcadian
Why spend billions of dollars on a giant toll road in Florida’s rural interior when what you really need are better schools, high speed internet and training for small businesses?

FDOT shares updated plans for Southwest-Central Florida Connector Toll Road

By Geoff Harris | ABC 7 Fort Myers

The Florida Department of Transportation held another information session Thursday night in Naples, showing updated plans for the proposed Southwest-Central Florida Connector Toll Road.

Florida’s proposed toll roads get another round of online meetings

By Daniel Figueroa IV | WMNF Tampa Bay

The Florida Department of Transportation is holding another round of online meetings this week to discuss three proposed toll highways through rural parts of the state.

M-CORES groups set to review recommendations

By Mike Wright | Citrus County Chornicle

It was never about piecing together a preferred corridor.

Toll road will likely end just north of Taylor Co.

Staff Report | Perry News-Herald

Although there is still no recommended path for the proposed toll road that could ultimately pass through Taylor County, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) officials announced at the task force’s meeting in August that the Suncoast Connector will connect to I-10 at one of four existing interchanges located in Madison or Jefferson counties to the north.

Task force meeting Wednesday for southwest-central toll road

By Betsy Calvert | Port Charlotte Sun

The task force for the toll road proposed for southwest-central Florida will hold a virtual version of its eighth meeting, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday with public viewing places in both Fort Myers and Bartow.

M-CORES meets today on SW Corridor in person, online

By Phil Attinger | Highlands News-Sun

If you want to know more about the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) program and the proposed Southwest-Central Florida Connector, there is a virtual meeting going on all day today, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Analysis: 3 planned toll roads, including project from Polk to Collier, not fiscally feasible
By Gary White | The Ledger
An analysis of three proposed toll roads in Florida has found that none meets the Florida Department of Transportation’s standards for financial feasibility.

New study refutes benefits of 3 proposed toll roads in Florida
By Karl Schneider
Naples Daily News
A consulting group refuted a handful of intended benefits of a proposed statewide toll road system in a new study released Wednesday.

Local activist groups disagree with construction of toll road that would run through 9 counties
By Jennifer Kveglis
WZVN Fort Myers, WBBH Fort Myers
Excerpt: The proposed Southwest-Central Connector toll road could potentially run through nine counties and more than 25 cities. With less than two months in Phase One of the project, a coalition made up of local activist groups called “No Roads To Ruin” commissioned a study of their own. Wednesday, Sept. 16, the group along with the student-based firm, Cornell Consulting, publicly shared their consensus virtually.

Florida accused of push for ‘roads to nowhere’ under cover of pandemic
YouTube video
Via The Guardian
Opponents of Florida’s largest highway construction project in decades say officials are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to advance three new unwanted toll roads that would destroy more than 50,000 acres of rural landscape and pave hundreds of miles through ecologically fragile wetlands and wildlife corridors.

Commission supports M-CORES route through Highlands County
By Phil Attinger
Highlands News-Sun
Related: Commission asked to support M-CORES through county
County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday for the M-CORES program, in support of a route that comes to or goes through Highlands County.


Florida accused of push for ‘roads to nowhere’ under cover of pandemic
By Richard Luscombe
The Guardian
Opponents of Florida’s largest highway construction project in decades say officials are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to advance three new unwanted toll roads that would destroy more than 50,000 acres of rural landscape and pave hundreds of miles through ecologically fragile wetlands and wildlife corridors.

New construction west of I-75 sparks economic concern in Columbia County
By Claudia Bellofatto
WCJB Gainesville
Many in Columbia County are concerned about a proposed highway that they feel make take business away from them. Columbia County commissioners and Lake City council members met today to discuss the construction of the new roadway west of 1-75.

M-CORES Coming to Columbia County. Hotel Mogul Worried About Economic Impact to Local Economy
By Stew Lilker
Columbia County Observer
On May 17, 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis signed senate bill 7068 – the M-CORES (Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance).

New toll road project raises local concerns
By Carl McKinney
Lake City Reporter
Anxieties are still running high over the potential economic impact of a new state toll road project that would give travelers another freeway to Central and South Florida…

Questionnaire: Linda Thompson Gonzalez, candidate for Florida House District 93
By Linda Thompson Gonzalez
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Excerpt: But even absent this crisis, I would also give the legislature a failing grade based on their legislative priorities over the past several years, many of which I have already noted. The M-Cores vote is a huge scam for the taxpayer that will take billions of dollars over the next 10 years, together with corporate rebates that should be spent instead on alleviating the challenges to low and middle-income workers and families.

Tax group questions basis for Suncoast Connector
By Lazaro Aleman
ECB Publishing
TaxWatch – a Florida based, independent, nonpartisan research institute and government watchdog established in 1979 – has released a 32-page report questioning the price tag and need for the Suncoast Connector.

FDOT seeks input through hybrid means
By Mike Wright
Citrus County Chronicle
Social distancing was not an issue. Thirty-one chairs, spread apart in the Plantation Inn’s Sabal Room, all but one or two empty.

Suncoast Parkway set to start next year
By Mike Wright
Citrus County Chronicle
Florida turnpike officials are planning to bid out construction of the Suncoast Parkway 2 next year, bringing the toll road in to State Road 44 in Citrus County three years later.

Business support for toll roads lags as opponents still fight them
By Chad Gillis
Fort Myers News-Press
The state is still moving forward with a series of toll roads that about 90 percent of Floridians don’t want, and those who do support the highways don’t seem to want to talk about them.

Florida’s toll road projects motor on with meetings
Staff Report
News Service of Florida via Tampa Bay Times, CBS MiamiFlorida Politics
The next round of public discussions on controversial toll-road projects from Collier County to Jefferson County will again be held through a combination of online and in-person meetings because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Task Forces On Proposed New Florida Toll Roads Meet This Week
By D’Ann Lawrence White
South Tampa Patch
Despite criticism from tax watch and conservation groups, the Florida Department of Transportation is going ahead with task force meetings next week to determine potential paths for 320 miles of new toll roads.

FDOT providing hybrid option for upcoming M-CORES Community Open Houses
Staff Report
Lake Okeechobee News
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will provide a hybrid option for the upcoming Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic (M-CORES) Community Open Houses.

Legislative candidates hold online day of action for Climate and Defense Initiative
By Jacob Ogles
Florida Politics
Excerpt: Jared West, a Democrat running in House District 10, called the Initiative “the most comprehensive climate action plan for Florida to date. “My campaign will work here in HD-41 to create new green jobs, protect our waterways and fight to stop the ridiculous proposed toll road that would cause Florida panthers to go extinct,” he tweeted.

Florida TaxWatch interview by CRG President Mike Willis
By Mike Willis
Center for Responsible Government Jefferson County
Hello, I’m Mike Willis, president of Citizens of Responsible Government for Jefferson County (CRG), and I’m pleased to welcome Robert Weissert, executive vice president and special counsel to the CEO of Florida TaxWatch.  Recently, Florida Taxwatch released an in-depth report titled, The Suncoast Connector: What We Still Need to Know.  In this report, TaxWatch outlines concerns about the proposed the Suncoast Connector or toll road currently being lobbied by M-CORES and the Florida Department of Transportation.

‘False Choice’: Florida Economy, Environment Aren’t Conflicting Concepts, Attorney Says
By Lidia Dinkova
Daily Business Review
Excerpt: Trevarthen in January became chair of the nonprofit smart growth advocacy group 1000 Friends of Florida Inc., which was co-founded by DeGrove. The group provides educational programs and certificates for planners and also lobbies on growth policies, most recently against a state plan to build three new highways for billions of dollars. “Our concern in that process is that the Legislature has put the cart before the horse, and there’s never been a demonstration of economic feasibility or actual need for these roads, and yet the state is spending tens of millions of dollars on them,” she said.

Clearwater native runs one of Tallahassee’s leading communication strategy shops
By Amy Keller
Florida Trend
Excerpt: Bascom’s political clients have included her cousin Jolly, a former congressman who left the GOP in 2018 to become an independent — and state legislative leaders, including outgoing Senate President Bill Galvano and Sprowls, the incoming House Speaker. Galvano says she helped him message on “many important objectives,” including the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (MCORES) program, which authorized the building of more than 300 miles of toll roads, broadband infrastructure and sewer hookups through many rural parts of the state.

Alachua County rejects state’s plan for new toll roads
Staff Report
Fox 35 Orlando, Fox 51 Gainesville
The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to reject plans to build new toll roads across the state.

County postpones Wednesday meeting to turn focus to School Board
By Emily Mavrakis
Gainesville Sun
Excerpt: Commissioners also voted 4-0, during Wheeler’s absence, to pass a resolution opposing the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, or M-CORES, program from the Florida Department of Transportation…Alachua County commissioners said that state funding priorities have greatly changed since M-CORES was passed, due to COVID-19. Commissioners said in its opposition letter that Gov. Ron DeSantis should adopt a “No Build” option for the Suncoast Connector Corridor, which would run parallel to the county. The M-CORES task forces will present a final recommendation report to the governor, state House and Senate by November 15, and construction is set to begin in 2022.

For Better Or Worse, Toll Roads Would Transform Florida
By Steve Newborn
WUSF Tampa
Planning is continuing on building three new toll roads, which would become the biggest road construction project in Florida since the Interstate Highway system was built.

In the Know: The intersection with the pandemic, a $1 billion loss in one month and two possible local toll expressways
By Phil Fernandez
Naples Daily News
Excerpt: Unlike other major roadways, the idea to spend what will easily exceed $1 billion for this and two other toll arteries planned for Florida came from lawmakers. Typically, it’s Department of Transportation engineers and planners. And there’s more to what Gov. Ron DeSantis and his team have dubbed Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, or M-CORES.

Not directly related to M-CORES but some parallels here:
Florida Cabinet should quash 836 Extension. It could damage Everglades-restoration benefits
By Paola Ferreira and Rock Salt
Miami Herald
This fall, Gov. DeSantis and the Cabinet will review Administrative Law Judge Suzanne Van Wyk’s recommendation regarding changes to Miami-Dade County’s Comprehensive Development Master Plan (CDMP).


Breaking Ground newsletter: The DeSantis toll road, and life’s mysteries
By Phil Fernandez
Naples Daily News
Why are we here? Where are we going? Why are we so confused? How meaningful is our work? What is the purpose of all this? Some of life’s greatest mysteries. They also happened to be the same kinds of questions being asked by some members of a task force and the public about the mystery meat in the Southwest Florida toll roads mandate by Gov. Ron DeSantis.


A tax watchdog questions feasibility of Florida toll road plan
By Shelly Sigo
The Bond Buyer
A government watchdog group in Florida is questioning the potential cost and feasibility of one of three major toll road projects that are part of the largest infrastructure initiative in the Sunshine State.


Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force met July 23
By Charles A. Baker III
Four Corners News-Sun
Excerpt: The task force consists of 47 regional leaders. Six of the 47 represent environmental groups who identify themselves as the “Road to Ruin Coalition” and, generally speaking, oppose the toll road on grounds of negative impact to wildlife habitat and project cost. Public comment at the meetings have been dominated by people who oppose the project on similar grounds. For example, at the onset of the July 23 meeting, several of the six said the project was not economically or environmentally feasible and ought to be delayed or killed outright.


Task force members still confused about process, need for proposed toll roads
By Chad Gillis
Fort Myers News-Press, Naples Daily NewsMarco Eagle
Some task force members planning for a mandated toll road from just south of Orlando to the Naples area seemed confused Thursday as to why they are considering the roadway at all.

Note: The TaxWatch report referenced in the articles below may be downloaded here.


Tax group questions toll road project
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida via CBS Miami, Daily Business Review
Excerpt:
 But groups such as 1000 Friends of Florida, Florida Conservation Voters, Sierra Club Florida and Progress Florida maintain the roads would fragment wildlife habitat, lead to urban sprawl and waste state transportation resources. In its report, titled “The Suncoast Connector: What We Still Need to Know,” TaxWatch said the Suncoast Connector could cost between $4 billion and $10.5 billion. The report indicated it could be difficult to produce enough revenue through toll rates in line with the rest of the turnpike system to cover bonds for construction.


Watchdog groups raise financial concerns over Suncoast toll road
By Jeffrey Schweers
Tallahassee Democrat, Florida Times-UnionPalm Beach PostSarasota Herald-TribuneGainesville SunDaytona Beach News-JournalOcala Star-BannerThe LedgerSt. Augustine RecordPanama City News HeraldNorthwest Florida Daily NewsLeesburg Daily CommercialFort Walton SunDestin LogPalm Beach Daily NewsCrestview BulletinApalachicola TimesFort Walton Sun, others
Two government watchdog groups are urging fiscal oversight and more financial details for a proposed 150-mile toll road between Citrus and Jefferson counties, one of three projects to expand the state’s toll road system and stimulate the economy in rural areas.


New Report Questions Cost Of Suncoast Parkway Extension
By Bradley George
WUSF Tampa
Florida Tax Watch says extending the Suncoast Parkway from Citrus County to the Georgia border would cost anywhere between $4 billion and $10.5 billion.

Florida TaxWatch Issues Report on Suncoast Connector
Staff Report
Florida Daily
On Monday, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) released a report on the Suncoast Connector.


Parkway project to finish all 15 bridges by end of July
By Michael D. Bates
Citrus County Chronicle
Excerpt: Meanwhile, Tallahassee-based Florida TaxWatch is raising questions about the cost and need for a project that would extend the Suncoast Parkway from Citrus County to Jefferson County at the northern end of the state. In a report released Monday, July 20, TaxWatch called the proposed 150-mile Suncoast Connector, a “risky project with a significant price tag and little transportation need.”


7/21/20 M-CORES Suncoast Connector Task Force Part 1
Video coverage
Florida Channel
Related: 7/21/20 M-CORES Suncoast Connector Task Force Part 2
The mission of the Suncoast Connector Task Force is to evaluate the Suncoast Connector corridor which extends from Citrus County to Jefferson County. The task force will work in coordination with the Florida Department of Transportation to address the need for the corridor and its potential economic and environmental impacts.


7/22/20 M-CORES Northern Turnpike Connector Task Force Part 1
Video coverage
Florida Channel
Related: 7/22/20 M-CORES Northern Turnpike Connector Task Force Part 2
The mission of the Northern Turnpike Connector Task Force is to evaluate the Northern Turnpike Connector corridor which extends from the northern terminus of the Florida Turnpike northwest to the Suncoast Parkway. The task force will work in coordination with the Florida Department of Transportation to address the need for the corridor and its potential economic and environmental impacts.


7/23/20 M-CORES Southwest Central Florida Connector Task Force Meeting Part 1
Video coverage
Florida Channel
Related: 7/23/20 M-CORES Southwest Central Florida Connector Task Force Meeting Part 2
The mission of the Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force is to evaluate the Southwest-Central Florida Connector corridor which extends from Collier County to Polk County. The task force will work in coordination with the Florida Department of Transportation to address the need for the corridor and its potential economic and environmental impacts.


FDOT M-CORES Update Polk Place
YouTube video
Polk Government
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will host a meeting of the Florida Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) Task Force for the Southwest-Central Florida Connector extending from Collier County to Polk County.


Budget had to be cut to deal with COVID, but DeSantis kept money for new toll roads
By Lawrence Mower
Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald
Florida will spend at least $738 million over the next five years on three controversial new toll roads projects under a plan approved by Gov. Ron DeSantis last week.


What’s next for the Florida panther: From COVID-19 to new toll roads and beyond
By Michael Paluska
WFTS Tampa Bay
Vehicle deaths are the number one killer for the Florida panther. But, from March 3 through April 30, not a single panther fatality was recorded on a Florida road.


Controversial Florida toll road project gets boost in trimmed budget
By John Haughey
The Center Square
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis trimmed $1 billion from Florida’s fiscal year 2021 budget before signing it, but surviving the governor’s cuts was a $90 million allocation for Florida’s most ambitious – and controversial – highway project since the 1950s.


Meet Ned Hancock, a Republican running for House District 55
By Jason Delgado
Florida Politics
Excerpt: We need a Representative who can build relationships and effectively advocate for the rural communities that comprise House District 55.  Our schools need Tallahassee to commit to fully funding the “Sparsity Supplement,” our business community needs to be considered as Florida plans and builds MCORES, and we need a strong voice to expand access to broadband internet in our communities.


Controversial toll road project funding is still intact amid $1 billion in state budget cuts
By Laura Cassels
Florida Phoenix, Florida Patch
Excerpt: Lindsay Cross, government relations director for Florida Conservation Voters, said it is a shame to leave $90 million for unpopular, down-the-road projects


Here Are Some Of Florida’s New Laws That Are Now In Effect
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida
Excerpts: HB 969: Under the measure, up to $5 million a year will be set aside for Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise to develop broadband infrastructure as part of projects to spur new or expanded toll roads from Collier County to the Georgia border.
SB 7018: The Florida Department of Transportation will plan and build staging areas for emergency response along the turnpike system, with a priority in “counties with a population of 200,000 or less in which a multi-use corridor of regional significance is located.” Such multi-use corridors are new or extended toll roads backed last year by the Legislature The measure also requires the Public Service Commission to work with the transportation department and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, to develop electric vehicle charging stations along state highways.intact while environmental projects that impact water quality suffered $83 million in budget vetoes. “There’s a time and a place for long-range planning, but with M-CORES, it’s not based on documented need and it won’t have utility for years,” Cross said.

State Makes Changes On Toll Road Sessions
By Rowan Moore Gerety
News Service of Florida via WLRN Miami, WUSF TampaHighland News-Sun
Transportation planners are now using “meetings” to describe online task-force discussions about controversial toll-road projects from Collier County to the Georgia border. The state had been using the term “webinars” to describe the sessions amid complaints by open-government advocates that the task forces should hold in-person meetings.


‘Circumstances have changed’: DeSantis approves slimmer $92.2 billion Florida budget
By Lawrence Mower and Mary Ellen Klas
Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald
Excerpt: Democratic lawmakers were deeply critical of several of the items DeSantis decided to veto. Jenne noted DeSantis’ decision to veto $500,000 for the state’s Blind Babies Program, which helps parents with blind children, while preserving $543 million in refunds to the state’s largest corporations and $117 million toward controversial toll road projects. “You could have cut a couple things and saved everything else,” he said. “He showed the state his cards.”


Broadband expansion needed sooner than later, Suncoast toll-road task force members say
By Jeffrey Schweers
USA Today Network-Florida Capital Bureau via Ocala Star-Banner, Tallahassee DemocratPalm Beach PostSarasota Herald-TribuneGainesville SunThe LedgerApalachicola TimesNorthwest Florida Daily NewsPanama City News Herald,  Florida Times-UnionSt. Augustine RecordGainesville SunDaytona Beach News-JournalPalm Beach Daily NewsFort Walton SunCrestview BulletinThe Destin LogWashington County NewsPort St. Joe StarLeesburg Daily CommercialWinter Haven News Chief,
Rural residents can’t wait 10 years for the state to expand high speed broadband internet access to their communities. That’s what members of a task force appointed to make recommendations for the Suncoast Parkway extension said at a recent workshop.


Breaking Ground: DOT tries different approach for DeSantis toll road
By Phil Fernandez
Naples Daily News, Marco Island Eagle
Like the lonely carnival barker trying to get your last bit of change for a ludicrous freak show along a muddy midway, the governor and his staff are offering a sideshow in trying to pitch a toll road few appear to want.


Florida bill revamps efforts to increase digital access
By Emily Wunderlich
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
A new law could help increase broadband internet access in Florida’s rural underserved communities — starting with more accurate data.


M-CORES Task Force discusses priorities; local officials anxious for routes
By Phil Attinger
Mid-Florida Newspapers
Wednesday’s M-CORES meeting saw state officials going back over the importance of setting priorities and evaluating how the needs of the corridor will be met.


Toll road task forces offer webinars
By Betsy Calvert
Port Charlotte Sun
The pace has slowed for Florida’s big central toll road project during the coronavirus pandemic. Three large citizen task forces have stopped face-to-face meetings. Instead, the Florida Department of Transportation has been offering webinars. The next webinar is from 9:30 a.m.-noon Wednesday. No agenda has been posted. The June 11 webinar was on development of broadband communications.


Florida lawmakers address climate change, an elusive concept in the past
By Shelly Sigo
The Bond Buyer
Excerpt: Three task forces are meeting to determine the need for the projects, as well as recommending specific routes. Their reports are due to state officials by Oct. 1. The legislation approving the roads says construction is expected to begin no later than Dec. 31, 2022…Last year, the “No Roads to Ruin Coalition” of 55 organizations and businesses formed to oppose the program, saying that the roads will cut through some of Florida’s most pristine and undeveloped areas.


FDOT promises in-person meeting here on toll road
By Lazaro Aleman
ECB Publishing
City Councilwoman Julie Conley recently pressed a representative of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) on the status of the in-person meetings that the agency was supposed to hold here and elsewhere to get public input on the Suncoast Corridor.


6/24/20 M-CORES Southwest Central Florida Connector Task Force Meeting
Video Coverage
The Florida Channel
Related: 6/23/20 M-CORES Suncoast Connector Task Force
Related: 6/25/20 M-CORES Northern Turnpike Connector Task Force
The mission of the Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force is to evaluate the Southwest-Central Florida Connector corridor which extends from Collier County to Polk County. The task force will work in coordination with the Florida Department of Transportation to address the need for the corridor and its potential economic and environmental impacts.


Department of Transportation panel cites broadband in pitch to build new toll road between Orlando and Naples
By Chad Gillis
Fort Myers News-Press
State transportation planners touted bringing broadband to rural communities between Orlando and Naples at its latest online toll road meeting Thursday, but heard more criticism that the road is not needed and could hurt the environment. The meeting consisted of a presentation, a discussion by task force members and public comment, which has largely been against three new toll roads pushed last year by the Florida Legislature and some business groups. Some have criticized the plans because, well, there really isn’t a plan other than to build three massive toll roads through vast swaths of the Sunshine State.


Gov. DeSantis signs bills on wrongful convictions in Florida
By Christine Sexton and Jim Turner
News Service of Florida via Orlando Weekly, South Florida Sun SentinelWJXT JacksonvilleFox 35 OrlandoCreative Loafing Tampa BayWJCT JacksonvilleWUFT GainesvilleNorthwest Florida Daily NewsPanama City News HeraldDaytona Beach News-Journal
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed 25 bills into law, including approving $2.15 million for a Jacksonville man wrongfully imprisoned for almost 43 years and two measures tied to a series of controversial highway plans…Meanwhile, two of the bills signed Tuesday by DeSantis are linked to the ongoing planning for three multi-use corridors, including new or extended toll roads, that would stretch from Collier County to the Georgia border. The projects, known as multi-use corridors of regional significance, or M-CORES, have been championed by Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton.


Environmentalists Oppose Tying Broadband Expansion To Toll Roads
By Blaise Gainey
WLRN Miami
A project tying toll roads to a broadband expansion has made some mad because they say there’s no need for additional roadways.


Gov. DeSantis signs bill to transfer broadband policy to DEO, bolster internet service to rural areas
By Jason Delgado
Florida Politics
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Tuesday that would transfer the responsibility of broadband policy implementation from the Department of Management Services to the Department of Economic Opportunity and encourage the use of broadband internet service in rural underserved areas in Florida.


Ron DeSantis signs electric vehicle study, emergency response staging area bill
By Renzo Downey
Florida Politics
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Tuesday launching a study of the state’s electric vehicle charging grid and preparing staging areas for emergency response along Florida’s turnpike system…Additionally, FDOT is required to give priority consideration to placement of such staging areas in counties with a population of 200,000 or less in which an MCORES corridor is located.


I-10 toll road not set in stone
By Lazaro Aleman
ECB Publishing
A Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) representative confirmed to city officials recently that the controversial SunCoast Connector would indeed terminate at I-10 in either Jefferson or Madison counties if it followed one of two existing corridors, referring to U.S. 19 and State Road 221, respectively.


6/11/20 M-CORES Southwest Central Florida Connector Task Force Meeting
Video coverage
The Florida Channel
Related: 6/9/20 M-CORES Suncoast Connector Task Force


Related: Southwest-Central Florida Corridor Webinar June 9, 2020
The mission of the Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force is to evaluate the Southwest-Central Florida Connector corridor which extends from Collier County to Polk County. The task force will work in coordination with the Florida Department of Transportation to address the need for the corridor and its potential economic and environmental impacts.


Breaking Ground newsletter: The DeSantis road going nowhere so far
By Phil Fernandez
Naples Daily News
Hit the road, DOT. That’s largely been the reaction at multiple online meetings being held to discuss toll highways the state Department of Transportation has been mandated to construct by Gov. Ron DeSantis.


What a SWOT analysis says about water related issues
By Sarah Ahston and Jim Metzler
Sanibel-Captiva Islander
Excerpt: The Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) program was signed into law by DeSantis in May 2019. M-CORES authorizes the design and construction of three new tolled road corridors through rural Florida. This includes the Suncoast Connector, Northern Turnpike Connector and Southwest-Central Florida Connector. Environmentalists are concerned that M-CORES will put at risk rural communities, vulnerable lands and waters, and wildlife. Their concern is both with the highways themselves as well as with the unmanaged growth they would generate.


Note: this is not an M-CORES toll road but still may be of interest.
Environmental concerns couldn’t stop this toll road. The coronavirus might
By Scott Maxwell
Orlando Sentinel
Historically, Central Florida’s approach to growth has been pave first and ask questions later.

First Amendment Foundation says toll road webinars should be stopped
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida via Orlando Sentinel, Gainesville SunNaples Daily NewsFlorida PoliticsOcala Star-BannerWUSF TampaDaily Business Review, likely others
An open-government advocate wants the brakes applied to upcoming webinars about controversial toll-road projects, contending that more-inclusive in-person meetings should be held as the state reopens amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Toll roads meetings must stop, Florida open government group says
By Lawrence Mower
Tampa Bay Times
The Florida Department of Transportation’s virtual meetings over building more than 300 miles of new toll roads violate the state’s Sunshine Law and must stop, the First Amendment Foundation told the agency on Thursday.


New Florida toll roads: 3rd meeting focuses on automated traffic systems
By Chad Gillis
The Ledger, Winter Haven News Chief
The Florida Department of Transportation held its third meeting of the week on Thursday, focusing again on emerging travel technologies like connected and autonomous vehicles.


Florida transportation planners pitch toll roads for third straight day

By Chad Gillis

Fort Myers News-Press, Naples Daily News

The Florida Department of Transportation held its third meeting of the week on Thursday, focusing again on emerging travel technologies like connected and autonomous vehicles.


Skepticism over proposed toll road between Orlando, Naples dominates webinar

By Chad Gillis

Fort Myers News-Press

State transportation planners and consultants pitched a second highway in as many days, and they got a similar response both times: many in the public simply don’t want any of the three proposed toll roads to cut through different sections of Florida.


Public tells state to slow down on controversial toll roads

By Chad Gillis

Fort Myers News-Press, Naples Daily New, USA Today

A task force charged with helping find a path for a major highway from the Tampa area to Georgia talked Tuesday about emerging technologies but got drowned out by the public.


Florida’s toll road projects are moving ahead with virtual meetings this week

By Lawrence Mower

Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald

Pandemic or not, Florida officials are moving ahead with their plans to build more than 300 miles of toll roads across the state.


Online meetings this week on proposed Florida toll highways

By Seán Kinane

WMNF Tampa Bay

This week the Florida Department of Transportation is hosting online meetings to discuss three proposed toll highways through rural parts of the state.


MCORES meeting wracked with technical woes

By Mark Berryman

Chiefland Citizen

The M-CORES Task Force held its most recent meeting virtually and according to Levy County Commission Chairman Matt Brooks, the new format had a few issues. 


Will the toll road stop at I-10?

By Lazaro Aleman

Greene Publishing

While health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic stalled much of business and other activities during the last two months – including the Suncoast Connector hearings – the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) soon expects to resume in-person meetings.


COVID-19’s Impact On State Budget Cast Doubt On Future Of Proposed Toll Roads

By Lynn Hatter

WUSF Tampa

Florida is still moving forward with plans to build three new toll roads.


Toll revenue drop shows Floridians were staying home

By Lawrence Mower

Tampa Bay Times

Florida toll road revenue dropped sharply in March, another sign that Floridians were staying home in the weeks before Gov. Ron DeSantis issued his April 1 executive order.

Florida transportation planners pitch toll roads for third straight day

By Chad Gillis

Fort Myers News-Press, Naples Daily News

The Florida Department of Transportation held its third meeting of the week on Thursday, focusing again on emerging travel technologies like connected and autonomous vehicles.


Skepticism over proposed toll road between Orlando, Naples dominates webinar

By Chad Gillis

Fort Myers News-Press

State transportation planners and consultants pitched a second highway in as many days, and they got a similar response both times: many in the public simply don’t want any of the three proposed toll roads to cut through different sections of Florida.


Public tells state to slow down on controversial toll roads

By Chad Gillis

Fort Myers News-Press, Naples Daily New, USA Today

A task force charged with helping find a path for a major highway from the Tampa area to Georgia talked Tuesday about emerging technologies but got drowned out by the public.


Florida’s toll road projects are moving ahead with virtual meetings this week

By Lawrence Mower

Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald

Pandemic or not, Florida officials are moving ahead with their plans to build more than 300 miles of toll roads across the state.


Online meetings this week on proposed Florida toll highways

By Seán Kinane

WMNF Tampa Bay

This week the Florida Department of Transportation is hosting online meetings to discuss three proposed toll highways through rural parts of the state.


MCORES meeting wracked with technical woes

By Mark Berryman

Chiefland Citizen

The M-CORES Task Force held its most recent meeting virtually and according to Levy County Commission Chairman Matt Brooks, the new format had a few issues. 


Will the toll road stop at I-10?

By Lazaro Aleman

Greene Publishing

While health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic stalled much of business and other activities during the last two months – including the Suncoast Connector hearings – the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) soon expects to resume in-person meetings.


COVID-19’s Impact On State Budget Cast Doubt On Future Of Proposed Toll Roads

By Lynn Hatter

WUSF Tampa

Florida is still moving forward with plans to build three new toll roads.


Toll revenue drop shows Floridians were staying home

By Lawrence Mower

Tampa Bay Times

Florida toll road revenue dropped sharply in March, another sign that Floridians were staying home in the weeks before Gov. Ron DeSantis issued his April 1 executive order.

Florida News Channel coverage of April M-CORES webinars:

4/30/20 M-CORES Suncoast Connector Task Force

4/29/20 M-CORES Northern Turnpike Connector Task Force

4/28/20 M-CORES Southwest Central Florida Connector Task Force Meeting


Where the revenue meets the road

By Mike Vogel

Florida Trend

Florida’s plan to build 330 miles of new toll roads in the hinterlands hinges on uncertain finances.


New Polk toll road: Panel considers ‘attraction’ sites

By Gary White

The Ledger

The task force planning a toll road from Polk County to Collier County


Chiefland will send list to M-CORES Task Force

By Mark Berryman

Chiefland Citizen

Suggestions on how to prepare the city for the proposed M-CORES toll road should the project come to or near Chiefland was discussed when the Chiefland City Commission met Monday night.


Call “Time Out” on Highway Boondoggles (national perspective)

By Tony Dutzik

StrongTowns.org

Sports seasons are suspended. Concerts and public gatherings are canceled. Millions of us are cooped up at home trying to stay healthy and stay sane.


Does Florida still need that trio of billion-dollar toll roads?

By Craig Pittman

Florida Phoenix

Florida’s controversial new toll roads hit a potential roadblock this week.


County Commission Turns Thumbs Down on Toll Road (Note: the resolution may be viewed here).


Budget conference: Toll road reports could get extension

By Drew Wilson

Florida Politics

Session might not be the only thing going long. New language added in budget negotiations could extend the deadline for a final report on a series of toll road expansions.


COVID-19’s Impact On State Budget Cast Doubt On Future Of Proposed Toll Roads
By Lynn Hatter
WUSF Tampa
Florida is still moving forward with plans to build three new toll roads.


Toll road to stop at I-10
By Lazaro Aleman
ECB Publishing
While health concerns of the coronavirus pandemic stalled much of the business and other activities during the past two months – including the Suncoast Connector hearings – the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) soon expects to resume in-person meetings.


Toll revenue drop shows Floridians were staying home
By Lawrence Mower
Tampa Bay Times
Florida toll road revenue dropped sharply in March, another sign that Floridians were staying home in the weeks before Gov. Ron DeSantis issued his April 1 executive order.


Does Florida still need that trio of billion-dollar toll roads?

By Craig Pittman

Florida Phoenix

Florida’s controversial new toll roads hit a potential roadblock this week.


County Commission Turns Thumbs Down on Toll Road (Note: the resolution may be viewed here).


Budget conference: Toll road reports could get extension

By Drew Wilson

Florida Politics

Session might not be the only thing going long. New language added in budget negotiations could extend the deadline for a final report on a series of toll road expansions.

Florida lawmakers quietly pave way for new toll roads this session

By Lawrence Mower

Tampa Bay Times

Lawmakers likely won’t revisit their approval last year of a questionable plan to build more than 300 miles of toll roads through rural Florida. But they’re advancing multiple bills this year that could induce support for the project by showering benefits to those communities along the toll road routes.

 

FDOT works to fast track 3 proposed toll roads throughout Florida

By Jennifer Kveglis

WBBH Fort Myers

FDOT is working to fast track three proposed toll roads throughout the state.

 

New toll roads face opposition from environmental groups and rural citizens

By Ky Miller

New College of Florida Catalyst

In the face of fierce opposition from environmental groups and citizens in rural areas, Florida is planning a major expansion of its highways with a series of toll roads that would open new parts of the state to development.

 

M-CORES talk focuses on broadband along with transport

By Phil Attinger

Highland News-Sun

“If you build it, they will come” found new use Wednesday during the fifth meeting for the M-CORES Southwest-Central Florida Connector.

 

New Toll Roads Are Coming to Florida This Legislative Session

By William C.

Florida Insider

Lawmakers in Tallahassee have decided to revisit an approved bill from last year (Senate Bill 7068).

 

Is Monticello safe?

By Lazaro Aleman

ECB Publishing

A resolution that the Monticello City Council had on its agenda for discussion earlier this week never got taken up once the officials heard a presentation on the latest developments on the Suncoast Connector – the 150 mile toll road that is slated to extend from its present terminus in Citrus County to Jefferson County.

 

Toll road task force meets Wednesday

Staff Report

The Ledger

The task force of the Southwest-Central Florida Connector, a planned toll road from Polk County to Collier County, will hold its fifth meeting Wednesday in Sebring.

 

Central toll road task force to meet in Sebring

By Betsy Calvert

Port Charlotte Sun

Debate on the state’s proposed new toll road will continue Wednesday in Sebring at the Bert Harris Agricultural Center Auditorium.

 

Task Force: Toll road planning moving too slowly

By Gary White

The Ledger

Polk County Commissioner Rick Wilson had been largely silent during the first four meetings of a task force assigned with preliminary planning of a toll road connecting his county and Collier County.

 

Florida plans for enhancing roadways of economic significance

By Liz Carey

Transportation Today

The Florida Department of Transportation released new plans Friday, that would improve environmental and transportation opportunities in economically significant transportation corridors in the state.

 

‘Destiny of a Golden Age’: Senate says goodbye to Bill Galvano

By A.G. Gancarski

Florida Politics

Excerpt: Senators presented him with a copy of SB 7068, the M-Cores road program that is his signature legislation. “This legislation is going to change the face of Florida for the future,” Passidomo said of this “huge initiative” to “help the heartland of the state of Florida … the reason the heartland will survive.”

Small Florida Town Worries Toll Road May Wipe It Out

By Bill Smith

Fort Myers News-Press, Miami Herald, Bradenton Herald, Northwest Florida Daily News, Crestview Bulletin, WKMG Orlando, Destin Log, Apalachicola Times, others

Some residents of the Lee County enclave of Alva, population 2,500, are organizing to oppose a massive road-building project that may ultimately eclipse any in Florida’s history.

 

Toll road proposal draws out locals in Arcadia

By Betsy Calvert

Port Charlotte Arcadian

Transportation experts mingled with locals in Arcadia Wednesday evening to talk about a giant toll road that could run through DeSoto and Charlotte counties on its way to Georgia.

 

Officials, task force members weigh multi-county road project

By Grier Ferguson

Sarasota-Manatee Business Observer

In May 2019, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance program. M-CORES and other transportation programs are expected to be funded by about $135 million a year starting in fiscal year 2022-23, using portions of motor vehicle license taxes.

 

Task Force Meetings Will Plan For New Highways In Florida South Florida Construction & Dev

By Deirdra Funcheon

Bisnow South Florida

Last year, without much public notice or debate, the Florida Legislature greenlighted the development of three new highways in the state.

 

Officials, task force members weigh multi-county road project

By Grier Ferguson

Sarasota-Manatee Business Observer

In May 2019, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance program.

 

Suncoast groups continue studying toll roads

By Mike Wright

Citrus County Chronicle

Task forces related to Suncoast Parkway projects continue their work this week with meetings in Madison and Levy counties.

 

Toll road task force meets

By Savannah Reams

ECB Publishing

The fourth meeting of the Suncoast Corridor Task Force was held on Tuesday, Feb. 11, beginning at 10 a.m. and lasting throughout the day.

 

Toll road open house

Staff Report

Perry News-Herald

Several dozen local residents attended a Suncoast Corridor Community Open House hosted by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) at Forest Capital Hall Monday evening.

Three toll roads proposed for rural Florida areas generate lots of concern, little support

By Chad Gillis

Fort Myers News-Press

Hundreds of miles of roads without a home are being planned for rural swaths of Florida, and they will open up green forests and farmlands to uncontrolled growth and urbanization, critics say. ..”This is one of the worst pieces of sausage that came out of the grinder in (the 2019) session,” said Mark Ferrulo with Progress Florida. “This is the roads-to-ruin toll road plan and it’s one of the worst infrastructure ideas since the Cross Florida Barge fiasco, or the Everglades Jetport scheme.”

 

Florida House Backs Broadband Expansion Effort

Staff Report

News Service of Florida

Excerpt: Lawmakers last year approved a plan aimed at extending the Suncoast Parkway from the Tampa Bay area to the Georgia border, building a toll road from Polk County to Collier County and extending Florida’s Turnpike west from Wildwood to connect with the Suncoast Parkway. Senate President Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican who pushed the legislation that authorized the roads, has repeatedly stressed that his plan would involve infrastructure, such as broadband. Critics of the roads have warned the corridors will cause sprawl for people who want to live in small communities and will devastate already-endangered wildlife.

 

Millions of toll dollars may go uncollected by state; lawmakers want answers

By Noah Pransky

Florida Politics

Hundreds of millions of tollway dollars may be going uncollected by the state, and lawmakers want more transparency from the Florida Department of Transportation on the reasons why.

 

Residents oppose toll roads

By Mark Berryman

Williston Pioneer

A number of people spoke up at last week’s meeting of the Levy County Board of Commissioners in reference to the proposed Suncoast Connector and Northern Turnpike Corridor projects. Of those who spoke, most were adamantly against either project.

Debate over toll road projects continues to flare

By Jim Turner

News Service of Florida via WJXT Jacksonville, WUSF Tampa, Orlando Sentinel, Gainesville Sun, Ocala Star-Banner, Daytona Beach News Journal, others

Gaining initial legislative support last year might have been the easy part for controversial and expensive toll-road projects envisioned to cut through more than 300 miles of mostly rural land from Collier County to the Georgia border.

 

Toll Road Opponents Vow To Follow The Money

By Steve Newborn

WUSF Tampa, WGCU Fort Myers

Three of the biggest road projects ever proposed in Florida are on a fast track created by state lawmakers, not transportation planners.

 

Debate Set to Continue Over New Florida Toll Roads. Here’s What You Need to Know.

By Troy Kinsey

Tampa Bay News 9

Florida was the nation’s second-fastest growing state in 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau announced this week, with an average of 640 people moving to the Sunshine State every day.

 

Biologist: New highways spell disaster for panthers

By Nathan Mayberg

Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The three major highways and toll systems that were approved by the state legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis at an estimated cost of $10 billion in May will be a disaster for Florida’s endangered panthers, says a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Likely To Get Environmental Money In Upcoming Session

By Jim Turner

News Service of Florida

Excerpt: Sen. Linda Stewart, an Orlando Democrat sponsoring the Florida Forever bill, said the money could be used to preserve land around three proposed multi-use corridors from Collier County to the Georgia State Line that would include new or expanded toll roads. The proposed projects, a priority of Galvano, are known as Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, or M-CORES. “In fact, the M-CORES, toll road discussions that have been taking place now … will require additional land acquisition that is going to be needed to support necessary environmental infrastructure,” said Stewart, who would prefer $300 million for Florida Forever rather than her $100 million ask.

 

5-county task force shares views on turnpike future

By Bill Koch

South Marion Citizen

Managing environmental concerns and emergency storm evacuation routes took center stage at Northern Turnpike Corridor Task Force’s third meeting Wednesday.

 

Nature of Things: Many of Polk’s top environmental issues of 2019 will be issues in 2020

By Tom Palmer

The Ledger

Excerpt: Not many people are buying those claims, countering that the real impact of these proposed projects will be to foster more sprawling development, to sever remaining statewide wildlife corridors and to divert state transportation money away from long-standing real needs such as the completion of the widening of State Road 60.

 

Possibly coming on Tuesday, Feb. 11 – A Projected Toll Path

By Lazaro Aleman

ECB Publishing

By February, individuals interested in knowing the possible path of the Suncoast Corridor – the toll road that is slated to come to Jefferson County – should have a better idea of where it might be going.

 

FDOT urges public participation during M-CORES planning process

By Kevin J. Thibault

Winter Haven Sun

Florida, known for its beautiful beaches, natural wonders and vibrant tourist attractions, continues to grow rapidly.

 

Conservative Court, Marijuana And Toll Roads: 2019 In Florida Politics

By Jim Saunders

News Service of Florida

Excerpt: But the projects have drawn opposition from many environmentalists, who contend the toll roads would lead to sprawling development and damage to ecosystems and wildlife. “We’re not saying no to progress, we’re just trying to define progress in a different way that more reflects what the communities on the ground want,” Ryan Smart, executive director of the Florida Springs Council, said in early December.

 

Happy New Year! Here’s what to watch in 2020

By Eric Staats and Harriet Howard Heithaus

Naples Daily News

Excerpt: Toll roads: The new year is expected to see some milestones for three proposed toll roads through rural parts of Florida, including between Collier and Polk counties…Task force members have called for more public input, and a group of environmental groups calling themselves the Roads to Ruin Coalition, have joined forces to block the roads. Buckle up: The debate is just beginning.

 

Saving Florida panthers: Environmental groups file lawsuit to protect the endangered cats from expanded roadways

By Issac Morgan

Florida Phoenix

The Florida panther, an iconic and endangered animal beloved in the Sunshine State, faces threats from new road construction projects aimed to expand in Southwest Florida.

 

Florida’s three proposed toll roads cut through precious natural land

By Victoria Tschinkel

Tampa Bay Times

A trip along the west coast of Florida from the Panhandle to the Everglades is a voyage through some of the state’s finest remaining natural lands. Still predominantly rural and agricultural, springs, swamps and rivers abound, clues to the region’s most precious resource: Water.

 

Not all issues are new at the Capitol, as lawmakers revisit roads, voting, guns and more this session

By John Kennedy

USA Today Network

Excerpt: Toll Roads: Senate President Bill Galvano got last year’s Legislature to sign off on the state’s biggest highway expansion in 60 years with the creation of three new, major toll roads. But public opposition since has proved fierce, with critics warning the highways threaten environmentally sensitive areas, particularly in North and Southwest Florida, and will promote sprawl.

 

Florida Turnpike extension could bring benefit to Lake Panasoffkee

By Marv Balousek

The Villages News

A municipal sewer system for the Lake Panasoffkee area could be a result of a state effort to extend the Florida Turnpike.

 

What are your thoughts about the proposed M-CORES’ Suncoast Connector?

Staff Report

Suwannee Democrat

57.1% I don’t want it running through our area.

 

Florida’s ‘green’ governor gets a D on Sierra Club’s environmental report card

By Adriana Brasileiro

Miami Herald

Excerpt: DeSantis got a D in his report card from the Sierra Club for failing to protect Florida’s springs and rivers and for authorizing toll roads that kill Florida panthers, black bears and other protected wildlife. He received Fs for staying silent on plans to convert the state to 100 percent renewable energy and barely passed the test on a key issue: climate change.

 

Tiny Alva community battles massive statewide toll road plan

By Bill Smith

Fort Myers News-Press

Some residents of the Lee County enclave of Alva, population 2,500, are organizing to oppose a massive road-building project that may ultimately eclipse any in Florida’s history.

 

FDOT chief: Parkway plans on hold pending task force outcome

By Mike Wright

Citrus County Chronicle

Plans for extending the Suncoast Parkway beyond Citrus County’s midsection are on hold as the state task forces work on plans to take the roadway north to Interstate 10 or the Georgia border.

 

Open House to be held for Suncoast Connector and Northern Turnpike Corridor in Levy

Staff Report

Gilchrist County Journal

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will host an Open House for the Suncoast Connecter and an Open House for the Northern Turnpike Corridor at the same time on Tuesday, January 28.

 

Money for broadband access near Florida toll roads advances in Senate

By John Kennedy

USA Today Network

With Senate President Bill Galvano’s push for building three new toll roads drawing stiff opposition from communities in their path, a bill cleared a panel Tuesday promising $5 million to improve broadband access for residents near the highways.

 

Senate advances Ben Albritton’s bill to revitalize broadband expansion

By Renzo Downey

Florida Politics

Legislation to revitalize broadband expansion unanimously passed its first Senate committee Tuesday, a week after making the same milestone in the House.

 

Buchanan Wants Panthers Safe As Heartland Parkway Starts

By Jacob Ogles

SRQ Magazine

Environmentalists long sounded alarms about whether the planned Heartland Parkway puts the Florida Panther population at risk. Now, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, has echoed their concerns in a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

 

Tracking the Florida panther’s tenuous comeback

By Rachel Love Nuwer

Salon

Excerpt: Meanwhile, roads, which regularly claim the lives of panthers that venture out of their southerly nook, prevent their natural expansion, while development — now the top threat to panthers — shows no signs of slowing. More than 900 people on average move to Florida each day, and Florida just approved three new toll roads that will cut directly through panther habitat.

 

FDOT talks MCORES

By Mark Berryman

Chiefland Citizen

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) hosted an Open House at the Levy Campus of the College of Central Florida on Tuesday night. The event featured a short film on the M-CORES (Multi-Use Corridors of Economic Significance) and several stations that provided information about all three projects.

 

Norris updates council on Suncoast Connector

By Jamie Wachter

Suwannee Democrat

In 10 years, travelers may have another major path south through Florida.

 

FDOT Community Open House for M-CORES projects

Staff Report

Citrus County Chronicle

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announces a Community Open House to which all persons are invited.

TV & Radio News Coverage (Click on thumbnails to see video): http://mms.tveyes.com/NetReport.aspx?ReportHash=52c3e1633c62ef7f0dda88ed806006cf

NOTE:  Since Senate President Galvano will continue his reign through the 2020 legislative session, there are no current plans to lobby the legislature until 2021; the TV news got it wrong.  We were at the Capitol across from Governor DeSantis’ office to demand accountability from him and not to lobby the legislature.

 

Toll road protesters rally at Capitol | Photos

Members of the No Roads to Ruin Coalition gathered in the Capitol Rotunda for a press conference Thursday. Photos by Alicia Devine of the Tallahassee Democrat.

 

Roads to ruin or prosperity? Environmentalists want to block Florida toll-road projects

By James Call

Tallahassee Democrat

A hodgepodge of environmental and civic groups on Thursday said they’ve banded together to block construction of 300 miles of new toll roads — despite the state having already made a $45 million down payment on the project.

 

No Roads to Ruin Coalition forms to fight new Florida toll roads

By Jim Turner

News Service of Florida via Orlando Sentinel, CBS Miami, WUSF Tampa, FOX 35 Orlando, WOGX Orlando, WJXT Jacksonville, Gainesville Sun, Ocala Star-Banner, Lakeland Ledger, Northwest Florida Daily News, Panama City News Herald, others

Critics of toll-road projects in rural areas from Collier County to the Georgia state line have combined efforts to try to halt plans for the new pavement.

 

Communities crying foul of proposed toll roads

By Mike Vasilinda

Capitol News Service

Plans to build 350 miles of toll roads has big Florida businesses cheering and environmentalists crying foul.

 

Florida environmentalists team up against toll road projects

By Lawrence Mower

Tampa Bay Times

More than 50 Florida environmental groups announced Thursday they were joining forces to fight a proposal to build more than 300 miles of toll roads through rural and ecologically sensitive parts of the state.

 

New Florida Toll Roads Plan, Protests: 5 Questions and Answers

By Troy Kinsey

Spectrum News 9 Tampa Bay

Standing outside Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office Thursday, environmental activists demanded that he slam the brakes on a plan to build three new toll roads intended to ease congestion on Florida’s interstates.

 

Coalition gathers strength to fight Florida’s proposed toll roads

By Forrest Saunders

WFTS Tampa Bay (also posted to YouTube), WPTV West Palm Beach, Yahoo! News

A group of Florida businesses and nonprofits hope to put the brakes on three proposed toll roads. Research for the projects, approved in May, cover 300 miles of northern, central and southern portions of the state.

 

Toll-road opponents launch ‘No Roads to Ruin’ campaign

By Laura Cassels

Florida Phoenix

A coalition fighting fast-tracked plans to build three major, tolled highways through rural parts of Florida calls the plans a “sham” to accommodate new development under the pretense of helping rural Floridians.

 

Environmental and rural groups protest toll roads plan

By Renzo Downey

Florida Politics

Demonstrators occupied the first floor of the state Capitol Thursday to protest a major transportation revitalization project approved last Session.

 

Critics of “sham” toll roads through rural Florida form a coalition to fight them

By Seán Kinane

WMNF Tampa Bay

Critics of three proposed toll roads through rural Florida are combining their efforts to fight back against the highways.

 

Jefferson Residents Express Their Opposition To Northern Expansion Of Suncoast Toll Road

By Lynn Hatter

WFSU Tallahassee

Jefferson County residents are opposed to a planned toll road that would run through the county and into Georgia.

 

Day hosting toll road open house

By Kara M. Compo

Suwannee Democrat

Lafayette County residents will get a chance locally to learn and ask questions about a proposed toll road through North Florida later this month.

 

Freeways to tollways: Increased use of tolling for highway funds sparks ire of lawmakers

By Abraham Mahshie

Palm Beach Post

Gov. Ron DeSantis stepped onto the stage at TaxWatch’s annual meeting at the Breakers Tuesday to a receptive audience of business and civic leaders in a group whose very mission is to scrutinize taxation in the Sunshine State.

 

Groups will go to battle over planned toll roads

By Matt Dixon

Politico

This article is behind a paywall.

 

The Florida panther could go extinct if this toll road is built, federal biologist says

By Lawrence Mower

Tampa Bay Times

One of the controversial toll roads approved by the Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis this year would be a “disaster” for the Florida panther and potentially render the species extinct, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist wrote this year in a candid email to his supervisor.

 

Roads To Nowhere Or Highways To The Future? Fight Over Future Toll Roads Ramps Up

By Lynn Hatter

WFSU Tallahassee

Are they an innovative approach to the state’s future transportation needs or an environmental and economic road to nowhere? Florida lawmakers approved the creation of three new toll roads during the last legislative session, but opposition from environmentalists, small business owners and local officials is growing.

 

Rise in toll lanes across Florida irks lawmakers

By Abraham Mahshie

The Ledger

Excerpt: But across the Sunshine State, there is growing disenchantment with what critics complain is a hidden — and growing — form of taxation: Highway tolls. Florida motorists these days are digging deeper into their pockets to travel on roads that were once free, often to travel in express lanes to avoid heavy traffic…In North Florida, lawmakers approved, and DeSantis signed, legislation this year to build a new highway that will be paid with tolls. The use of tolls, on lanes to avoid traffic or to pay for highways in general, is creating a backlash.

 

Seeing elusive Florida panther akin to seeing a ghost

By Chris Felker

Immokalee Bulletin

Excerpt: This year the Florida Legislature passed, and Gov. Ron DeSantis signed, a bill ordering FDOT to consider building new toll roads, including one from Naples in Collier to Polk County, which would sprawl across the wildlife corridor. The TNC has been able to get a voice on the task force that is examining the possibility, setting up its next skirmish in the battle for the panther’s survival.

 

Proposed central toll road debate continues

By Betsy Calvert

Charlotte Sun

The southern section of a proposed 350-mile toll road through central Florida is up for debate again today and Thursday.

 

M-CORES Task Force meets in LaBelle

By Danika J Hopper

Immokalee Bulletin

Monday, December 9, at the Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force Meeting #3, representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) met with other public officials to discuss the Florida Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) program.

 

Levy Commission discusses MCORES toll roads

By Mark Berryman

Chiefland Citizen

Levy County Commissioners heard from Bronson resident Robbie Blake and Ryan Asmus, the Florida Department of Transportation production lead for the Suncoast Corridor, at the most recent meeting.

 

Commissioners’ Reports

By John Ayers

Gilchrist County Journal

Excerpt: Commissioner Langford told the Commission that she would make a motion to adopt a resolution against the Suncoast Corridor toll road from coming through Gilchrist County. Commissioner Martin gave a second to the motion before a lengthy discussion began.

 

Florida Northern Turnpike Connector Task Force hosting meeting to discuss economic, environmental impact

Staff Report

Ocala News

 

TV News Clips

https://www.nbc-2.com/story/41428072/toll-road-proposed-between-polk-collier-county-could-shape-the-corridors-future

 

https://www.winknews.com/2019/12/09/environmentalists-concerned-about-major-state-road-project-others-in-support/

Toll road that could transform Polk raises confusion

By Gary White

The Ledger

The planning of a highway that could transform Polk County took on an existential tone during a meeting Wednesday at Polk State College.During the second meeting of the Southwest-Central Florida Connector task force, some members questioned how they can weigh the project’s stated goals without considering whether the toll road should even be built.

 

Toll Road Task Force Meeting Yields Few Answers On Impact

By Steve Newborn

WUSF Tampa

A task force that is coming up with recommendations to reduce the impacts of a planned toll road that will run through the middle of the state met Wednesday at Polk State College in Lakeland.

Florida Senate president calls transportation’s five-year planning ‘not realistic’ for toll roads projects

By Lawrence Mower

Tampa Bay Times

Senate President Bill Galvano defended the tight timelines for creating more than 300 miles of toll roads, saying the Department of Transportation’s five-year plan was “not realistic.”

 

Roads taking a toll on task force members as some struggle to understand need, origination

By Chad Gillis

Naples Daily News, Fort Myers News-Press

Who wants a new highway from Polk County to Collier, and why is the state building toll roads that transportation officials never asked for?

 

Bill Galvano got his toll roads. Now he wants water, internet

By Jacob Ogles

Florida Politics

Senate President Bill Galvano isn’t done with his toll road project just yet. The Sarasota Republican wants to make sure, as major roadways move into rural counties, that water infrastructure and broadband internet come as well.

 

Floridians considering environmental impact of proposed road connecting Collier and Polk County

By Joanna Bouras

WBBH Fort Myers

A task force of more than 45 people is proposing to build a road that connects Collier and Polk Counties.

 

Suncoast Connector Open House held in Dixie

By Cindy Jo Ayers

Gilchrist County Journal

M-Cores Suncoast Connector held an Open House for citizens to learn more about the new road on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at the Old Town Education Center (former Old Town Elementary School).

 

Florida faces environmental collapse; Sierra Club demands action

By Laura Cassels

Florida Phoenix

Excerpt: “We need to restore our democratic process,” Jackalone says. He criticized, for example, how Senate President Bill Galvano pushed 2019 legislation to create new toll roads through rural areas – plans not recommended by state transportation planners and publicly condemned by environmentalists and citizen groups. Jackalone says such roads would, for “greed,” open rural areas to excessive development at the same time as coastal communities become inundated by rising seas. After a period of slower growth, Florida’s business community now wants “massive development” and “urban sprawl” ahead of “self-fulfilling forecasts” of a wild increase in Florida’s population, Jackalone says. “We’ve never seen anything like we saw in the toll-roads fight,” he says. “Why does Florida have to grow faster than any other state?”

 

Task forces will get more scrutiny over toll roads, Florida officials announce

By Lawrence Mower

Tampa Bay Times

State transportation officials announced additional meetings and resources for the task forces studying three new proposed toll roads.

 

Nature of Things: Toll road meetings expose the plans’ weaknesses

By Tom Palmer

The Ledger

Two facts emerged from Wednesday’s meeting to discuss the planned toll road that will run from the southern edge of Winter Haven to somewhere in Collier County near Naples.

 

Advocates: Florida lawmakers fail to implement land conservation program

Staff Report

Daytona Beach News-Journal Online, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Environmentalists gathered last week at the Florida Capitol to celebrate the fifth anniversary of voters overwhelmingly approving a ballot measure aimed at steering billions of dollars toward land and water preservation. But the fight over money remains… Many worry that Florida’s green spaces are steadily disappearing — part of what drove the ballot campaign in the first place. Earlier this year DeSantis signed into law a measure that could lead to the construction of three major new toll roads in Florida — cutting through mostly rural counties home to some of the land environmentalists want saved. “There is a critical need — now,” said Kevin McGorty with Tall Timbers Land Conservancy.

 

Florida DOT adds M-CORES toll meetings amid public outcry

By Tyson Fisher

Land Line Magazine

With three proposed toll roads on its plate, the Florida Department of Transportation recently announced additional public meetings for the Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, also known as M-CORES.

 

M-CORES money not guaranteed in DeSantis’ $9.9 billion transportation plan

By John Haughey

The Center Square

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ $91.4 billion fiscal 2021 budget request seeks nearly $10 billion for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), including $2.8 billion for highway construction, $865.7 million for lane resurfacing and $436.2 million for bridges.

 

Toll road debate continues unabated

By Lazaro Aleman

ECB Publishing

Jefferson County Commission Chairwoman Betsy Barfield recently came under fire at a board meeting because of her absence from a public forum on the proposed toll road, the opposition of which continues unabated.

Proposed toll road from Polk to Collier draws concerns from some environmental groups

By Patrick Riley

Naples Daily News via Marco Island Eagle; content also behind firewall at Naples Daily News and Ft. Myers News-Press

Southwest Florida could be in line for a new toll road that would connect Polk County, south of Orlando, to Collier County. But an aggressive schedule, the potential for more sprawl and the possible fragmenting of Florida panther habitat has some environmental groups worried.

 

6 things to know about proposed toll road from Polk to Collier (video)

By Patrick Riley

Naples Daily News

Southwest Florida could be in line for a new toll road that would connect Polk County, south of Orlando, to Collier County.

 

Routes for three new Florida toll roads to be unveiled in January

By John Kennedy

GateHouse Capital Bureau via Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Lakeland Ledger, Leesburg Daily Commercial, Winter Haven News Chief,

Detailed routes for three new Florida toll roads, amounting to the state’s biggest highway expansion in decades, are expected to be unveiled in January, a House committee was told Wednesday.

 

Toll Road Routes Could Emerge in Early 2020

By Jim Turner

News Service of Florida via WUSF Tampa, Tallahassee Reports, Hernando Sun, Fox 35 Orlando, WJXT Jacksonville, Highland News-Sun

Potential environmental impacts from a series of controversial toll-road projects could start to be known shortly after the start of the new year

 

Toll road task forces moving forward

Staff Report

News Service of Florida via Fox 51 Gainesville, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Highland News-Sun, Fox 35 Orlando

Task forces set up to study and make recommendations about three major toll-road proposals will move forward with meetings this month.

 

Let your voice be heard

By Lazaro Aleman

ECB Publishing

Residents interested in learning more about the toll road that is slated to cross Jefferson County or voicing their opinions on the project will get two opportunities to do so in person next week, if either choice will entail a long drive.

 

Toll road task force meeting

Staff Report

The Ledger, Winter Haven News Chief

The Florida Department of Transportation has released details of its second meeting of the Southwest-Central Florida Connector task force and an open house. The meeting concerns the roughly 150-mile planned toll road from Polk to Collier County.

 

Who wants toll roads? Toll road builders

By Scott Maxwell

Orlando Sentinel

The biggest pork project lawmakers passed last session was a multibillion-dollar plan to build more than 300 miles of toll roads. Many people opposed this massive spending plan, describing it as a wasteful sop to the road-building industry and developers who wanted to open up large swaths of land for new construction. And now the Tampa Bay Times has unearthed evidence to bolster those concerns.

 

Levy County residents react to potential toll roads

By Shelby Lindsay

WGFL Gainesville

Robbie Blake lives right next to a wetland and she is concerned that the proposed toll road could potentially affect her backyard. “We still have no maps that show us where this is going to go, and we need to know where this is going to go,” Blake said.

 

Political Inisder: Florida Senate president pledging action on gun violence

By Zac Anderson

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Excerpt: Galvano drew intense criticism from the environmental community this year when he pushed through a bill creating three new toll roads in rural areas of the state. Critics said the roads would lead to massive sprawl and environmental degradation, but Galvano and many lawmakers argue the new infrastructure is needed to keep up with Florida’s growth, bring development to rural areas and limit traffic on existing roadways.

 

DeSantis approved these toll roads. So where’s the reason to build them?

By Lawrence Mower

Tampa Bay Times

When Florida lawmakers signed off this year on a bill creating more than 300 miles of toll roads, they did so with scant evidence the project was needed.

 

New Florida Wildlife Corridor expedition aims to show what new toll roads would destroy

By Craig Pittman

Tampa Bay Times

A barefoot Carlton Ward Jr. sat on his haunches by a portable cooker, eating a bowl of instant grits and waiting for his soggy boots to dry out.

 

As Plans To Build New Florida Toll Roads Accelerate, Some Want To Pump The Brakes

By Blaise Gainey

WFSU Tallahassee, WJCT Jacksonville

North Florida could be getting its first major toll road thanks to a bill signed by the Governor this summer.

 

Turnpike group looks at areas to avoid

By Mike Wright

Citrus County Chronicle

No one knows yet where Florida’s Turnpike will intersect with the Suncoast Parkway, but a group began the task Tuesday of narrowing down where it shouldn’t go.

 

Counties wonder: Is Suncoast extension necessary?

By Mike Wright

Citrus County Chronicle

Members of the Suncoast Connector Task Force spent less time Wednesday trying to pinpoint areas for a massive road project to avoid and more time wondering why they were there in the first place.

Extension of Florida Turnpike will have ‘profound impact’ on Sumter County

By Marv Balousek

The Villages News

A 40-mile westward extension of the Florida Turnpike, slated for completion in about a decade, will profoundly affect Sumter County.

Legislative panels kick off work on toll road plans

By Jim Turner

News Service of Florida via Palm Beach Florida Weekly, Fort Myers Florida Weekly, Venice Florida Weekly, Charlotte Florida Weekly, Bonita Springs Florida Weekly (note: this article was published in numerous other outlets included in last week’s compendium)

Task forces that will study and make recommendations about three major toll-road proposals will be committed to protecting farmland and natural springs in the western side of the state, Florida legislative task force members were told last week as they formally kicked off the work.

 

Polk voices oppose Polk-to-Collier toll road

By Gary White

Lakeland Ledger

During the first meeting of a panel planning a highway from Polk County to the Naples area, a parade of residents urged members to advise the Florida Department of Transportation not to build the toll road at all.

 

New state toll road could cut through Charlotte, DeSoto counties

By Betsy Calvert

Port Charlotte Sun

Excerpt: “If you’re listening to the task force members, they’re all really interested in the line on the map. That’s what they want to see,” said Gledhill, who is an organizer for the national Center for Biological Diversity. “It was interesting to learn that these task forces will not be recommending an exact alignment, and that to us is very confusing.” she said. “Their job is to develop consensus.” Gledhill said opposition groups believe special interest groups have already identified the location, and just want the project fast tracked. Harrell agreed that the project looks like it is on a fast track. “There’s quite a bit of resources directed to making this happen in a short period of time,” he said.

 

At a Meeting in Tampa: FDOT Launched M-CORES to Study Work on Three Transportation Corridors

Staff Report

Sunshine State News via News Talk Florida

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) hosted a meeting of the three Multiuse Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) Task Force on Tuesday at the Tampa Convention Center, marking the start of the program’s study phase.

 

The Week in Review: Opinions vary as groups kick off Suncoast study

Staff Report

Citrus County Chronicle

People who love toll roads and those who hate them converged for a meeting in Tampa Tuesday that started early and ended after 6 p.m.

 

First Toll Road Public Meeting Draws Negative Reviews from Levy Commissioners

By Terry Witt

Spotlight on Levy County Government

Levy County Commissioners walked away from an Aug. 27 Florida Turnpike task force meeting wondering why the state provided little guidance on where it plans to build an extension of the Suncoast Parkway other than from Citrus County north to the Georgia border.

 

5 Questions With Chris Sprowls, Florida’s New House Speaker

By Jim Turner

News Service of Florida via WUSF Tampa, WGCU Fort Myers, WINK News Fort Myers

Jacksonville Business Journal

Excerpt: Q: The bill will be due when you’re speaker on those toll roads that were approved this past year. It’s an idea that mostly emanated from the Senate, but it’s going to come on your watch. Are you four-square in favor of those? SPROWLS: I voted for it. I supported the plans. And I continue to support the plan.

 

Apparently, this planned toll road has caught your attention

By Ronald Dupont Jr., North Port Sun

OK, dear readers, you must really, really love reading about the planned toll road.

 

Suncoast Extension Arrives at TDC: Chamber Director Looking for ‘Money’ for Study – Sort Of

By Stew Lilker, Columbia County Observer

The M-CORES (Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance) found its way onto the Tourist Development Council (TDC) agenda Tuesday afternoon. Chamber Director Theresa Pinto, with a little help from hotel mogul and TDC member Nick Patel, came to the TDC looking for money for a study of the proposed Suncoast Extension, which is one of the three proposed toll roads in the M-CORES project.

New state toll road could cut through Charlotte, DeSoto counties
By Betsy Calvert
Port Charlotte Sun
August 31, 2019
There was no answer for the big question everyone had at the first meeting of the state’s giant Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance — or M-CORES.

Some Hurricane Dorian Evacuation Routes Inadequate, Study Shows
By D’Ann Lawrence White
Tampa Patch
August 30, 2019
Dorian was only a distant tropical storm Tuesday when more than 100 government officials, transportation and land use planners, business and agricultural representatives and environmentalists gathered at the Tampa Convention to launch a plan to build three new toll roads in Florida.

‘War’ against toll road plan flares as task forces meet
By John Haughey
The Center Square
August 29, 2019
Members of three regional task forces commissioned to orchestrate a $45 million study of a decade-long, multi-billion dollar plan to build three toll roads spanning mostly rural areas along Florida’s western spine met Tuesday at the Tampa Convention Center for introductions and a preliminary review of procedures and process.

Work starts on Florida toll roads plans
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida Published
August 28, 2019
Task forces that will study and make recommendations about three major toll-road proposals will be committed to protecting farmland and natural springs in the western side of the state, members were told Tuesday as they formally kicked off the work.

FDOT Launches M-CORES to Study Work on Three Transportation Corridors
Staff Report
Sunshine State News
August 28, 2019
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) hosted a meeting of the three Multiuse Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) Task Force on Tuesday at the Tampa Convention Center, marking the start of the program’s study phase.

Florida’s new toll roads are supposed to help these counties. But they don’t want it.
By Lawrence Mower
Tampa Bay Times
August 28, 2019
Florida’s three proposed toll roads were sold by politicians and interest groups as a boon for the state’s poor rural areas, which have been left further behind by the last decade of growth.

 

State task force to begin researching three new toll roads covering 300 miles of Florida
By Nicole Grigg
August 27, 2019

ABC Action News Tampa Bay
A state task force will begin researching three toll roads that will cover 300 miles across Florida after Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill this past spring.

 

Highway expansion plan begins amid doubts over routes, impacts; Polk toll road proposed
By John Kennedy
Lakeland Ledger via GateHouse Capital Bureau
August 27, 2019

The launch of Florida’s biggest highway expansion in 60 years unfolded Tuesday across several conference rooms at the Tampa Convention Center, as three separate task forces met for the first time to begin analyzing 330 miles of proposed new toll roads.

 

Florida’s new toll roads ‘a monumental opportunity,’ transportation secretary says
By Lawrence Mower
Tampa Bay Times
August 27, 2019
Florida’s transportation secretary told hundreds of people gathered in Tampa on Tuesday that creating more than 300 new miles of toll roads in the state is “a monumental opportunity.”

Environmental concerns dominate toll road discussions
By Aaron Mesmer
Fox 13 Tampa Bay
August 27, 2019
Florida’s toll roads task forces met for the first time at the Tampa Convention Center on Tuesday to discuss a major project that will expand three of the state’s transportation corridors.


Florida’s biggest toll road work since the 1950s under scrutiny at hearing
By John Kennedy
Gannett Capital Bureau
August 27, 2019
Highway expansion plan begins amid doubts over routes, impacts.

Opinions vary as groups kick off Suncoast study
By Mike Wright
Citrus County Chronicle
Related: Toll road task forces kick off Tuesday
August 27, 2019
The year-long process that lawmakers say will end in three new toll roads by 2030 began Tuesday morning in a Tampa Convention Center ballroom.

Florida toll roads task forces meet in Tampa; environmentalists say don’t build them
By Seán Kinane
WMNF Tampa Bay
August 27, 2019
The three task forces that will decide the parameters of new toll roads through rural west Florida met for the first time Tuesday at the Tampa Convention Center.

 


Toll Road Panel Holds First Meeting in Tampa
By Gordon Byrd

August 27 2019
WDAE 95.3 FM Tampa Bay
Supporters say they’ll not only improve transportation, but also communication, by bringing broadband to underserved rural areas. Opponents say they’ll bring urban sprawl and endanger wildlife.


Florida Dept. of Transportation Kicks Off Major Toll Roads Expansion Project
By Laurie Davison
Spectrum News 9
August 27, 2019
The public got its first look at a plan to build three new toll roads in Florida during a kick-off event and task force meeting in Tampa.

Florida DOT wants to hear your opinions on toll road expansion
By Liz Crawford and Thuy Lan Nguyen
WTSP Tampa Bay
August 27, 2019
Three new toll routes are planned for Florida: One entirely new road from Polk to Collier County, an extension of the Florida Turnpike west to connect to the Suncoast Parkway and an extension of the Suncoast Parkway to the Georgia border.

FDOT To Kick Off Multi-Use Corridors Program
By D’Ann Lawrence White
Tampa Patch
August 27, 2019
The Florida Department of Transportation will host a kick-off meeting for its Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance program Aug. 27 from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S. Franklin St.

 

Will toll road bring too much traffic?
By Lazaro Aleman

August 27, 2019
ECB Publishing Monticello
The proposed toll road through Jefferson County is capturing some citizens’ attention, as well as creating a little concern.

 

Triple Toll Road Task Force Meets; Met With Anticipation, Worry
By Steve Newborn
August 27, 2019

WUSF Tampa
The first meeting of a task force that will look at building three new toll roads through rural areas of Florida met Tuesday in Tampa, in what was described as a defining moment for the future of the state.

 

Tollway task forces begin work
By Matt Dixon
August 27, 2019

Politico
Task forces that will lay the groundwork for three new toll roads envisioned by Senate President Bill Galvano will begin work Tuesday.

 

Opposition expected at first public meeting for new Tampa toll roads
August 27, 2019

By Melissa Marino
WFLA 8 News Tampa Bay
The first public meeting on three controversial new toll roads planned for Florida is being held in Tampa on Tuesday.


Task forces can lessen impact of roads
Editorial

August 27, 2019
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Few people believe that Florida’s highway and roadway infrastructure is adequate.

Opinion pieces:
Another Viewpoint: With M-CORE studies starting, now’s the time to join the public conversation
By Craig Fugate

August 27, 2019
Florida Times-Union
Note: This commentary was also published at Gainesville Sun, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Ocala Star-Banner, Lakeland Ledger, Palm Beach Daily News, Winter Herald News Chief, Leesburg Daily Commercial,
Three task forces are getting ready to start the process of studying the feasibility of possible new infrastructure known as Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance program.

8/27/19 M-CORES Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force (video)
Live task force meeting video coverage
The Florida Channel
The mission of the Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force is to evaluate the Southwest-Central Florida Connector corridor which extends from Collier County to Polk County.


Planned roads could imperil Florida’s panthers—and last remaining wilderness
By Douglas Main
National Geographic
August 26, 2019
Labelle, FloridaSouthwest Florida is still a wild place, where you can encounter a bear, a bobcat, or a panther. These creatures roam through large territories, and depend on a patchwork of public and private lands called the Florida wildlife corridor, which strings its way throughout the state.

The groups deciding the fate of Florida’s new toll roads meet in Tampa on Tuesday
By Lawrence Mower
Tampa Bay Times
August 26, 2019
Environmentalists, state and local government officials and private interests meet for the first time Tuesday to decide the routes of three controversial new toll roads in Florida.

Here are the opinions you need to read about the push for new Florida toll roads
By Elizabeth Djinis
Tampa Bay Times
August 26, 2019
Have you heard about the toll roads that could be coming to Florida?

First Public Meeting On Proposal For Three New Toll Roads Tuesday In Tampa
By News Service of Florida and Steve Newborn
WUSF Tampa
August 25, 2019
The public will get its first look at a massive plan to build three new toll roads through rural parts of the state on Tuesday.

Florida must protect the Florida Wildlife Corridor as it plans new toll roads
By Carlton Ward Jr.
Tampa Bay Times
August 23, 2019
This Tuesday, 200 leaders from around the state will gather at the Tampa Convention Center to begin designing the future of wild Florida. That’s not the stated purpose of the meeting, but it could be the effect. In reality, people are gathering to start planning three toll roads, but a lot more is at stake.

Toll road task forces kick off Tuesday
By Mike Wright
Citrus County Chronicle
August 23, 2019
The roads to somewhere start Tuesday, when a host of elected officials, agency directors and the public converge in Tampa for the kickoff of three task forces designed to create or extend Florida toll roads.

Why do state task forces on toll roads include those with special interests?
By Lindsay Cross
Tampa Bay Times
August 20, 2019
In early August, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced the members of new task forces charged with evaluating the potential construction of massive — and expensive — proposed toll road highways.

Charlotte, DeSoto to help plan state road project
By Betsy Calvert
The Arcadian
August 17, 2019
A rural toll road through the state’s undeveloped interior is back on the agenda.

Who will benefit from Florida’s new toll roads? Take a look at who’s consulting on where they will go.
By Lawrence Mower
Tampa Bay Times
August 14, 2019
When state lawmakers earlier this year approved the largest expansion of Florida’s toll roads in decades, they were sold on the premise that the new roads had several public benefits.

Why do state task forces on toll roads include those with special interests?
By Lindsay Cross
Tampa Bay Times
August 14, 2019
In early August, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced the members of new task forces charged with evaluating the potential construction of massive — and expensive — proposed toll road highways. Unfortunately, the task forces are stacked full of industries that stand to benefit financially from the highways’ construction.

FDOT announces website for Florida citizens to engage over program
Staff Report
Immokalee Bulletin
August 11, 2019
Tallahassee – The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is announcing a new website for citizen engagement with the Florida Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) program, www.FloridaMCores.com.

Wills named to toll road task force for Central/SW Florida
By Chris Welker
Caloosa Belle Weekly
August 9, 2019
Hendry County Commission Chairman Mitchell Wills has been named to represent the county on the new Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force.

Turnpike task force raises confusion in Marion
By Carlos E. Medina
Ocala Star-Banner
August 6, 2019
The county doesn’t want to be in the study area; it just wants a say in any northern extension of the toll road.

Toll road task force includes 5 from Polk County
By Gary White
The Ledger
August 3, 2019
Polk County will have at least five representatives on a panel that will soon begin developing plans for a toll road running from Polk County to Collier County.

Want a voice in planning for massive FL toll road network? Here’s how
By Julie Hauserman
Florida Phoenix
August 1, 2019
Florida legislators passed the largest statewide highway expansion plan since the 1950s last spring – a network of new toll roads stretching from South Florida to the Georgia border.

FDOT encourages Florida residents to weigh in on new roadways
By Josh Williams
WCJB Gainesville
August 1, 2019
The Florida Department of Transportation has launched a website for the state’s multi-use corridors (M-CORES). The goal is to encourage residents to get involved with state plans.

State launches website for new toll road planning
Staff Report
News Service of Florida
July 31, 2019
Florida transportation officials have set up a website for “citizen engagement” on three planned toll roads on the western side of the state.

DeSantis reaches six-month mark with risky road ahead
By John Kennedy
Gannett Capital Bureau
July 6, 2019
Excerpt: The toll roads project, Florida’s largest highway construction plan in more than a half-century, could tear through rural lands and threaten critical springs and waterways. “The reality is, when you look behind the coat of green paint, there’s really not much substance there — yet,” she added.

An Encore Edition Of The Florida Roundup: Toll Roads, Election Security & Florida Homeownership
By Denise Royal and Jessica Weiss
WLRN Miami
July 5, 2019
As of July 1, Florida is expanding several new toll roads. A new law extends the Florida Turnpike west to connect with the Suncoast Parkway; expands the Suncoast Parkway from the Tampa Bay area to the Georgia border; and adds a new multi-use corridor, including a toll road, from Polk County to Collier County.

An Encore Edition Of The Florida Roundup: Toll Roads, Election Security & Florida Homeownership
By Denise Royal and Jessica Weiss
WLRN Miami
July 5, 2019
As of July 1, Florida is expanding several new toll roads. A new law extends the Florida Turnpike west to connect with the Suncoast Parkway; expands the Suncoast Parkway from the Tampa Bay area to the Georgia border; and adds a new multi-use corridor, including a toll road, from Polk County to Collier County.

 

The DeSantis record: Bold promises clash with cold reality
Editorial
South Florida Sun Sentinel
July 7, 2019
He foolishly endorsed three new toll roads that will threaten sensitive lands and wildlife…This is not what Floridians said they wanted.

Marion County clarifies its stand on toll road planning
By Jim Ross
Ocala Star-Banner
June 19, 2019
Last year, when the state unveiled proposed routes for the Coastal Connector highway, the County Commission found itself in complete reactive mode. The commission had no say in drawing the lines; it was just presented with a set of alternatives that it found completely unacceptable.

Fact or Fake: Will new Florida highways be like the environmentally friendly Wekiva Parkway?
By Mike Lafferty
Orlando Sentinel
June 4, 2019
We wondered, are plans for these new highways truly following the Wekiva Parkway environmentally friendly model as DeSantis says?

Expansion Of Florida’s Toll Roads System
Staff Report
WJCT Jacksonville, WUSF Tampa
June 2, 2019
When Bill Galvano became the leader of the Florida Senate, he made it clear that his top priority was building new roads.

Going To The End Of The Suncoast Parkway Toll Road – At Least For Now
By Steve Newborn
WUSF Tampa, WGCU Fort Myers
May 31, 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill that would mandate construction of a new toll road and extend two others through relatively untouched parts of the state. So WUSF took a drive to the end of the Suncoast Parkway  – at least for now – to see what we would find.

What Three New Toll Roads Could Mean For Florida’s Environment
By Matthew Peddie
WMFE Orlando
May 29, 2019
Governor Ron DeSantis has been welcomed by environmental advocates for his commitment to everglades restoration.

Don’t let Florida’s destructive history repeat itself
By Jennifer Carr
Gainesville Sun
May 28, 2019
Did we learn anything from the Cross Florida Barge Canal project? The new toll roads that are planned are the same boondoggle, the same “ditch of dreams” nightmare — only this time, running vertically through Florida instead of horizontally.

If this is the example for new Florida toll roads, Gov. DeSantis might have a problem
By Craig Pittman
Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald
May 25, 2019
Last week when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill approving three new toll roads that his own Department of Transportation had not asked for, the governor answered environmental activists’ cries of outrage by contending that such roads can be sensitive to nature.

DeSantis caves on roads to nowhere
By Carl Hiaasen
St. Augustine Record
May 24, 2019
An extravagant road-building package approved by the Florida Legislature and sent to the governor promised to answer one big question that’s been hanging over Tallahassee: Was it possible that Ron DeSantis, conservative Republican and hardline Trump fan, is really, truly a friend of the environment?

Solar power would bring more jobs than toll roads
By John S. Quarterman
Gainesville Sun
May 22, 2019
Now that Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed the toll road bill, SB 7068, Suwannee Riverkeeper — which was among the 90 organizations throughout Florida that asked him to veto it — continues to oppose that boondoggle and propose actual benefits to Florida’s economy and waters.

A Palm Beach connection to North Florida’s ‘toll road to nowhere’
By Frank Cerabino
Palm Beach Post
May 21, 2019
When you look at laws that appear to make no sense, there’s usually something rotten lurking under the surface.

Environmental impact of the new toll road measure
By Ericka Jackson
WINK News Fort Myers
May 20, 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis has made it clear that our state’s environment is a priority for him. But after passing a toll road bill last week, critics said it would hurt the environment.

Toll roads possibly coming to NCFL
By Julia Laude
WCJB Gainesville
May 20, 2019
A new bill signed by Governor Ron DeSantis could soon bring new freeways to the state. This includes adding more toll roads to Florida’s highway system.

Opponents of Florida turnpike bill vow to sustain ‘war’ on ‘toll roads to nowhere’
By John Haughey
The Center Square
May 20, 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bitterly-contested bill creating task forces to study a decade-long, multi-billion dollar plan to extend three toll roads into rural “corridors” along the state’s west side.

DeSantis Signs Galvano’s Controversial Toll Road Project into Law
By Dennis Maley
Bradenton Times
May 19, 2019
On Friday afternoon, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 7068 into law. The controversial “toll roads to nowhere bill” was the top priority of Florida Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) in this year’s legislative session.

DeSantis approves Florida toll road projects, overcoming environmental concerns
By Lawrence Mower
Tampa Bay Times
May 17, 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis gave the green light to Florida’s largest potential road project in decades, signing a bill Friday that could pave the way for building a massive new toll road through the state and extending two others.

With toll roads bill, DeSantis faces his first test as an environmental champion
By Lawrence Mower
Tampa Bay Times
May 17, 2019
Is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that rare breed of Republican who champions the environment? We’re about to find out.

DeSantis signs bill for 3 major Florida toll highways
By Brendan Farrington
Associated Press
May 17, 2019
Florida will begin planning three new major toll highways through mostly rural areas under a bill signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday over the objections of environmentalists who have otherwise praised him since taking office.

Gov. DeSantis signs hotly debated toll-road expansion bill
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida
May 17, 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed a controversial measure aimed at expanding and building three toll roads on the western side of the state, with supporters saying the plan will help prepare for future growth and aid in disaster evacuations.

Bucking environmentalists, DeSantis signs bill expanding toll roads
By Zac Anderson
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Lakeland Ledger, likely others
May 17, 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis has tried to build a reputation as the “green governor” as he works to tackle the state’s water quality problems, but that image could be diminished after DeSantis signed a toll-road bill Friday that is loathed by environmentalists.

Florida closer to building 3 new toll roads
Staff Report
FOX 13 Tampa Bay
May 17, 2019
The state is a step closer to building more than 300 miles of roads.

Apparently, Gov. DeSantis is not the environmentalist we thought he was
By Carl Hiaasen
Miami Herald, Tallahassee Democrat
May 17, 2019
An extravagant road-building package approved by the Florida Legislature and sent to the governor promised to answer one big question that’s been hanging over Tallahassee:

Roads vs. pristine Florida? Gov. DeSantis signs massive toll road bill
By Michael Moline
Florida Phoenix
May 17, 2019
Despite pleas from two former state governors and at least 90 environmental and community groups and businesses, Gov. Ron DeDantis on Friday signed a multibillion-dollar plan to build long stretches of toll roads across undeveloped sections of the state.

Florida Could Get Three New Toll Road Highways By 2030 Despite Environmental Concerns
WFSU Tallahassee
By Lynn Hatter
May 17, 2019
Governor Ron DeSantis has approved a measure that could pave the way for the state’s first major highway expansion in decades.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs controversial ‘Billionaire Boulevard’ toll roads legislation
By Xander Peters
Orlando Weekly
May 17, 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ status as a “green” governor is officially up for debate.

Environmentalists Urge Gov. Ron DeSantis to Veto Florida Toll Roads Bill
By Irvin Dawid
Planetizen
May 17, 2019
The Sierra Club calls the 330 miles of proposed public toll roads, the largest road project in the Sunshine State since the construction of the nearly 500-mile Florida’s Turnpike, the “roads to ruin.”

Controversial Toll Road Bill To Be Signed By DeSantis
By Steve Newborn
WUSF Tampa
May 16, 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday morning he will sign a bill instructing the state to build two new toll roads and extend a third through rural parts of the state.

New toll road proposal sparks protest in Gainesville
By James J. Rowe
WCJB Gainesville
May 16, 2019
A protest organized by the Sierra Club, as well as other environmental groups who are opposed to the idea of extending the Suncoast Parkway north from Citrus County to the Georgia state line, took place at Bo Diddley Community Plaza in Gainesville late Wednesday afternoon.

Toll road coming through Jefferson County?
By Lazaro Aleman
ECB Publishing
May 16, 2019
A proposed toll road that would cut across part of Jefferson County is drawing opposition from at least 75 environmental, conservation and civic groups, which are calling on Gov. DeSantis to veto the legislation.

Guns, toll roads and drugs…Oh My!
By Eric Anthony Rodriguez
Suwannee Democrat
May 16, 2019
Governor DeSantis has not yet signed SB 7068, but I have a feeling he will. This bill authorizes a study to determine the feasibility of three new toll roads. This bill could quite possibly affect us here in Suwannee County more than anything else passed this legislative session.

Costumed protesters warn against toll roads plan
By Brendan Farrell
Gainesville Sun
May 15, 2019
Butterflies and birds happily fluttered about on a hot Gainesville afternoon. Before getting paved over by corrupt billionaires to construct new toll roads.

Pressure builds in fight over toll roads
Staff Report
News Service of Florida
May 15, 2019
As Gov. Ron DeSantis considers a bill aimed at building or expanding three toll roads, he is facing pressure from both sides of the controversial issue.

Environmentalists to Florida governor: Veto ‘Toll Roads to Nowhere’ bill
By Jeffrey Schweers
Tallahassee Democrat Published
May 14, 2019
Senate President Bill Galvano’s ambitious road-building program to secure Florida’s future growth has been derided by environmentalists as a 340-mile, $1-billion “Toll Roads to Nowhere” through farms and forests from the edge of the Everglades to the Georgia border.

Proposed toll roads subject of St. Petersburg protest
By Peter Bernard
WFLA Tampa Bay
May 14, 2019
They’re either a path to the future or a path to destruction. Florida could be on the verge of building hundreds of miles of new toll roads. But not if environmental groups have their way.

A proposed toll road in North Central Florida faces opposition
STAFF Report
WCJB Gainesville
May 14, 2019
The Sierra Club is organizing three protests for Tuesday and Wednesday– and one is scheduled for Gainesville.

Protesters demonstrate against bill for new toll roads in Florida
By Sabela Sabovic
WPLG Miami
May 14, 2019
Protests are being held Tuesday targeting Florida’s roads. Demonstrators are upset over legislation aimed at creating new toll roads in the state.

Toll road bill goes to Governor DeSantis
Staff Report
News Service of Florida
May 14, 2019
A measure aimed at expanding or building three toll roads was sent Monday to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who will have until May 28 to decide whether to sign it, according to the Senate website.

Environmentalists protest massive highway plan as ‘toll roads to nowhere’
By Skyler Swisher
South Florida Sun Sentinel
May 14, 2019
A group of protestors in Hollywood asks Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto a bill that would create three new toll roads through vast swaths of mostly rural Florida.

Protesters Call On Gov. DeSantis For ‘Transit, Not Toll Roads’
By Caitie Switalski
WLRN Miami
May 14, 2019
A group of about two dozen protesters chanted in front of the Tri-Rail station in Hollywood Tuesday. Together, they represented a handful of environmental groups that have been writing letters and calling Gov. Ron DeSantis’s office, asking him to veto two bills on his desk.

Legislature wants to pave paradise, put up toll roads
By Mark Woods
Florida Times-Union
May 14, 2019
Thirty years after the toll booths on the bridges came down, tolls have returned to Jacksonville.

For Whom the FL Road Bill Tolls: Gov Pressured to Veto/Sign Turnpike Plan
By John Haughey
Columbia County Observer
May 14, 2019 
A bill approving a decade-long, multi-billion dollar plan to extend three toll roads into rural “corridors” was formally sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis Monday as opponents intensified demands he veto the measure and launched a week of scheduled protests.

DeSantis pushed to veto major toll road expansion
By John Kennedy
Gannett Capital Bureau (published in several papers)
May 13, 2019
Protests are planned in three Florida cities this week and a letter-writing campaign is underway urging Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto legislation aimed at creating three new toll roads in the state.

Environmentalists to stage protests against toll road expansion
By Jacob Ogles
Florida Politics
May 13, 2019
The Sierra Club will stage three major protests this week, in an effort to convince Gov. Ron DeSantis to nix a toll road expansion.

State leaders take next steps to expand toll roads in Florida
Staff Report
WFTS Tampa Bay
May 13, 2019
State leaders are taking the next steps to expand toll roads in Florida.

Toll roads bill reaches governor’s desk, will he let this road trip continue?
By John Lucas
The Capitolist
May 13, 2019
A bill that would lead the state down the road to three major toll road construction projects now sits on the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis. He now has 15 days to decide whether to allow the bill to become law with or without his signature, or veto the legislation.

From toll roads to sales taxes, four ways Florida lawmakers affected your pocketbook.
By Graham Brink
Tampa Bay Times
May 9, 2019
Toll road romance: Republican lawmakers can’t seem to help themselves. Someone proposes a toll road to nowhere and they say, “Sure, and here’s a pile of tax dollars.” They did it again this year, in grand style.

Sierra Club: If DeSantis says he is a ‘Teddy Roosevelt” Republican, he should veto massive toll road scheme
By Julie Hauserman
Florida Phoenix
May 6, 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis calls himself a “Teddy Roosevelt Republican” – referring to his professed support for environmental protection. Now, the Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club is using the governor’s words in an advertisement urging DeSantis to veto a multi-billion-dollar plan the Legislature passed for a network of new toll roads throughout Florida.

Proposed Polk toll road spurs contrasting reactions
By Gary White
The Ledger
May 5, 2019
If Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs a bill passed by the Florida Legislature last week, he will launch a process that could yield a major highway running from Polk County southward through the state’s interior.

Veto this $10 billion ‘boondoggle’ highway bill, Gov. DeSantis
By Paul Owens
Orlando Sentinel
May 2, 2019
With cavalier disregard for the economic and environmental costs, Florida legislators have greenlighted the biggest expansion to the state’s highway network in more than half a century. Senate Bill 7068 directs the state Department of Transportation to blaze three new toll expressways through rural Florida – a project whose price tag could top $10 billion.

Suncoast Parkway plan whips up both support and criticism
By James J. Rowe
WCJB Gainesville
May 2, 2019
A plan involving a new toll road through North Central Florida is now at the governor’s desk. One of the three proposed highways would connect Southwest Florida to Lakeland.

Florida Legislature signs off on massive toll road projects, sending bill to the governor
By Lawrence Mower
Tampa Bay Times
May 1, 2019
Florida’s largest road project in half a century was given a green light Wednesday, after the House voted to send a bill creating three new toll roads to Gov. Ron DeSantis for approval.

Florida lawmakers pass bill to create 3 new toll highways
By Curt Anderson
Associated Press
May 1, 2019
Florida is on the fast track to building three new major toll highways in mostly rural areas under a bill sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis by the state House on Wednesday despite concerns over their potential negative impact on the environment.

Three big toll road projects get green light from Legislature
By John Kennedy
Gannett Capital Bureau (printed in several of their sister papers)
May 1, 2019
Florida’s biggest highway expansion since the mid-1950s was approved Wednesday by the state House, which sent plans to build three major toll roads to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Build, baby, build: Legislature approves Bill Galvano’s toll roads plan
By A.G. Gancarski
Florida Politics
May 1, 2019
On Wednesday, the Florida House approved by a 76-36 margin a priority of Senate President Bill Galvano: A bill that would authorize an ambitious expansion of toll roads throughout the state.

Florida Senate approves the largest Florida highway expansion in 60 years. Environmentalists say it would be devastating
By Xander Peters
Orlando Weekly
May 1, 2019
Last week, the Florida Senate approved plans to build a new statewide network of toll roads, teeing up the latest battle between conservationists and state lawmakers.

Vague, multi-billion-dollar plan to build new toll roads across Florida passes Legislature
By Julie Hauserman
Florida Phoenix
May 1, 2019
Despite a plea from one state representative that the Legislature is “just handing over a blank check,” lawmakers approved a multi-billion-dollar toll road plan Wednesday and sent the measure to Gov. Ron DeSantis for approval or veto.

Ignoring pleas for more scrutiny and local control, Republicans advance multi-billion dollar toll road plan
By Julie Hauserman
Florida Phoenix
April 30, 2019
The Republican-led Florida Legislature barreled ahead Tuesday on its plan to create the largest state highway construction project since the 1950s – a toll road network that would cost billions. Republicans rejected attempts by Democrats to give locals veto power over where the road corridors would go and resisted attempts to give the broad plan more scrutiny by elected officials.

Despite budget agreement, Galvano toll road-plan faces House uncertainty
By John Haughey
Florida Watchdog
April 29, 2019
Among budget conference agreements secured over the weekend is a tentative consensus to approve a proposed $45 million allocation needed to initiate a decade-long toll road-building plan that is among Senate President Sen. Bill Galvano’s top priorities for the legislative session, which ends Friday.

Build the Suncoast Parkway all the way to Georgia? Nobody told Georgia
By Craig Pittman
Tampa Bay Times
April 26, 2019
The massive toll road expansion that Senate President Bill Galvano has pushed through the Senate originally caught Florida Department of Transportation officials off guard. Galvano had not warned them about it, and they had no plans ready to go.

Do these rural areas need new toll roads? Maybe, if you’re a billionaire landowner
By Lawrence Mower and Langston Taylor
Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau
April 25, 2019
Florida’s richest man is Thomas Peterffy, a supporter of President Donald Trump who served on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign finance team.

Three new toll roads approved by Florida Senate, heads to the House
By James J. Rowe
WCJB Gainesville
April 25, 2019
After being approved by the State Senate, the Florida House of Representatives will take up a bill that would begin the process of designing a toll road that would run through North Central Florida.

Florida toll road plan advances despite warnings
By John Kennedy
Gannett Capital Bureau (published in several papers)
April 24, 2019
The biggest expansion of Florida’s highway system in 60 years was approved Wednesday by the state Senate.

Environmentalists concerned over proposed mid-state toll roads
Staff Report
WINK News Fort Myers
April 24, 2019
At any moment this week state lawmakers could pass a bill allowing for three toll roads in rural parts of Florida.

Environmentalists try to derail Florida toll-road plan
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida
April 23, 2019
Environmentalists used Earth Day to ratchet up criticism of a proposal going before the Senate to expand and build toll roads through hundreds of miles of the state.

Florida Senate set to vote on plan for new toll roads
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida
April 23, 2019
The Florida Senate is poised Wednesday to approve plans for three toll-road projects that environmental groups decry as inviting sprawling development into rural parts of the state.

FACT praises highway expansion plan
By Drew Wilson
Florida Politics
April 23, 2019
Florida Alliance for Consumers and Taxpayers (FACT) called a proposed expansion to the state’s highway system “visionary” and the “a smart investment for state taxpayers.”…Earlier this week, Progress Florida executive director Mark Ferrulo blasted the toll roads as a “scheme” and a “land grab” that will have major environmental consequences.

Groups blast Legislature’s proposed new toll road plan as “worst ever” bill
By Julie Hauserman
Florida Phoenix
April 22, 2019
Fifty-six community and environmental groups sent a letter to state senators Monday opposing the Florida Legislature’s proposed bill to create a new statewide network of toll roads.

Environmental Groups Vow To ‘Declare War’ On Toll Road Bill
By Steve Newborn
WUSF Tampa
April 22, 2019
On Earth Day, Florida environmental groups took dead aim at a plan by lawmakers to build three new toll roads through the heart of the state.

Progress Florida derides Bill Galvano toll road expansion as ‘Billionaire Boulevard’
By Jacob Ogles
Florida Politics
April 21, 2019
Progress Florida labeled Florida Senate President Bill Galvano’s ambitious toll road plans a “Billionaire Boulevard” and public “boondoggle.”

Senate taps brakes on toll road plan
By Jim Turner
News Service Florida
April 18, 2019
A plan for expanding and building three toll roads on the western side of Florida was put on hold by its sponsor Wednesday, as Democrats were set to push for more specifics on the environmental and land-use impacts.

Florida Poised To Add 3 New Highways, Transforming The State
By Deirdra Funcheon
Bisnow South Florida
April 17, 2019
The Florida Senate is set to vote Wednesday on the biggest expansion of the state highway network since the mid-1950s: the addition of three major toll roads through largely rural parts of the state.

Expansion of Florida’s toll road network picks up speed
By Christine Sexton
News Service of Florida
April 13, 2019
Plans for three new or expanded toll roads across rural areas of the state continued to roll through the Senate on Thursday, despite critics warning about sprawling development.

Toll Road Plans Cruise In Senate
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida
April 12, 2019
Plans for three new or expanded toll roads across rural areas of the state continued to roll through the Senate on Thursday, despite critics warning about sprawling development.

Highway proposed to run through the heart of Florida
Staff Report
WBBH Fort Myers
April 11, 2019
Lawmakers call it the “highway of the future,” but environmentalists say this highway could take us down a road of wildlife and water destruction.

Legislature is set to build the road to Sprawlville
By Mark Lane
Daytona Beach News-Journal
April 11, 2019
Legislators are getting ready to build toll roads to encourage sprawl in the Florida interior. Say goodbye to a landscape of farms, ranches, forest and springs.

Florida’s toll-road plan a greed-driven scam to spawn more sprawl
By Ron Cunningham
St. Augustine Record
April 9, 2019
Now you can barely see the water for all the steel and concrete.

New toll road could be coming to the Big Bend
By Stephen Jiwanmall
WTXL Tallahassee
April 8, 2019
Could a new toll road be coming to Florida’s Big Bend?

Road builders drive massive Florida highway expansion
By John Kennedy
Gannett Capital Bureau (note: published in several of their sister newspapers)
April 7, 2019
The biggest expansion of the state highway network since the mid-1950s looks poised to gain approval from Florida lawmakers, pushed into action by roadbuilders and contractors eager for work.

Plans for new toll roads in Florida
By Mike Vasilinda
Capitol News Service
April 5, 2019
State lawmakers are putting aside millions this year to create three new toll roads, but the idea has environmentalists spooked and others see opportunity.

Toll expressways plan threatens north central Florida
By Thomas Hawkins
Gainesville Sun
April 2, 2019
The Legislature is considering a plan it calls “M-CORES,” short for Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance, to build new toll expressways through some of the precious few remaining rural parts of Florida. While the stated goal of the plan — creating economic opportunity in struggling communities — is reasonable, the approach is a fiscal boondoggle.

Toll road projects, including Polk-Collier corridor, gets kick-start in House
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida
March 28, 2019
The Florida House started moving forward Thursday with a proposal that could lead to three major toll-road projects, a top priority of Senate President Bill Galvano.

Legislature’s planned road project could benefit Florida’s richest man
By Julie Hauserman
Florida Phoenix
March 21, 2019
A push in the state Legislature for a new toll road system through North-Central Florida could benefit the richest man in Florida.

New toll expressways would be a boondoggle, not a boon
By Thomas Hawkins
Tampa Bay Times
March 19, 2019
This week, a Florida Senate committee considered a plan it calls M-CORES to build new toll expressways through some of the precious few remaining rural parts of our state. While the stated goals behind the plan — providing new hurricane evacuation routes and creating economic opportunity in struggling communities — are reasonable, the approach is a fiscal boondoggle.

Highway construction bill speeds through Senate committee
By Drew Wilson
Florida Politics
March 19, 2019
The Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee greenlit a bill that would pave the way for three mammoth road projects.

Commission hears about Heartland Parkway Tuesday
By Phil Attinger
Port Charlotte Sun
March 18, 2019
The “Heartland Parkway,” a decade-long dormant proposal to extend the Sunrise Parkway to the Georgia State line, has been revived.

Toll road from Polk County to Collier County back on drawing board
By Lisa Conley
Naples Daily News
March 8, 2019
A long-talked-about toll road connecting Polk County to Collier County is back on the drawing board.

A new road connecting Collier to Polk County? Florida Senate highway plans start moving
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida
March 5, 2019

Plans for expansion and construction of three toll roads started rolling Tuesday in the Florida Senate, with the proposed projects eventually expected to require about $140 million a year in transportation funding.

Bill Galvano’s new toll roads bill rolls out of Senate committee
By Scott Powers
Florida Politics
March 5, 2019
The measure to plan and fund three potential new cross-state toll road expressway projects rolled smoothly out of the Florida Senate Committee on Infrastructure and Security Tuesday opening the road for one of the top priorities for Senate President Bill Galvano.

Pressure grows to address problems from Florida’s surging growth
By Zac Anderson
Daytona Beach News-Journal, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and others
March 3, 2019
Excerpt: Rather than focus on improving infrastructure in heavily developed urban areas where traffic is a major headache, Galvano wants to develop toll roads in rural areas north of Tampa and south of Orlando. He argues the roads would provide alternative transportation routes to existing highways, alleviating congestion on those roads while also stimulating economic development in rural areas. Galvano’s plan is supported by groups such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Floridians for Better Transportation, a group comprised of transportation industry businesses…But critics say the new toll roads will only bring more sprawl and growth-related problems. They would rather see a focus on urban infrastructure and getting development interests to pay more.