FPI Staff | June 5, 2020
For Immediate Release: Friday, June 5, 2020
Contact: Sonia Lindell, 407.440.1421 ext. 702, lindell@floridapolicy.org

80 Organizations and Businesses to Governor DeSantis and Legislature: Redirect M-CORES Funding to Critical State Needs

Read the original post on Florida Policy Institute’s website. 

TALLAHASSEE — Eighty (80) organizations and businesses from across the state today sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis and the state Legislature urging them to halt work on M-CORES and redirect those precious state funds toward the real needs of Floridians. 

The letter:

Dear Governor DeSantis and Florida State Senators and Representatives:

We are currently in a time of great uncertainty. For many Florida residents and businesses, the future has never seemed so unclear.  To ensure that the basic needs of Floridians are met during and after the COVID-19 pandemic will require an unprecedented fiscal response at a time when our state’s primary revenue sources may be severely diminished.  The below signed eighty (80) organizations and businesses ask that you strike the $90 million in funding for M-CORES from the 2020-2021 budget, and use that funding instead to help the unemployed, small businesses, agricultural producers and workers, and other Floridians hit hard by COVID-19 and its repercussions.

We know the budget is designed in such a way as to make the extraction of M-CORES-related dollars less than straightforward, however, we also know that if regular Floridians, rather than special interests, are your first priority, you will extract and redirect those funds.

A year ago, these roads were a bad idea: they will further degrade our water resources and compromise human health, damage local businesses and rural downtowns, lead to the loss of threatened and endangered species, and misdirect tax dollars away from important state needs.  Today, these toll roads are preposterous.

According to 1000 Friends of Florida’s analysis, Florida is scheduled to spend $135 million on M-CORES by July 1, 2021 and more than $1.1 billion over the next 10 years.  Most of that $1.1 billion will be spent on just designing the toll roads.  Based on similar projects completed in the past, the total cost of the M-CORES toll roads could be more than $21 billion. These funds will be needed elsewhere, if they are available at all.

Sales tax accounts for nearly eighty (80) percent of state general revenue and about one-fifth of sales tax comes directly from the hospitality and tourism industries.  Even as safer at home orders are modified to allow for limited recreation and tourism, after two months of lockdown Florida will likely lose billions of dollars in tax revenue while needing to do more than ever to care for Florida’s large elderly population, address the critical needs of the unemployed, and keep small businesses afloat.

The Legislature can help communities by providing money directly to local governments who know best the needs of their communities and have long lists of shovel-ready projects waiting for state funding.  

While people can disagree on whether or not the M-CORES toll roads should be built at all, it would be the height of hubris to spend more than a hundred million dollars on planning new toll roads in the middle of a global pandemic.

Please use your power to strike all appropriations related to M-CORES, halt work on the project, and redirect those precious state funds toward the real needs of your people.


Alachua County Labor Coalition
Jeremiah Tattersall, Chair
Alachua County NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice Committee
Nkwanda Jah, Chair
Apalachee Audubon Society
Peter Kleinhenz, President
Bay and Reef Company of the Florida Keys
Captains Elizabeth Jolin and Xavier Figueredo, Owners
Bear Warriors United
Katrina Shadix, Executive Director
Big Cat Rescue
Carole Baskin, CEO
Allie Preston, Director of Communications
Ralf Brookes
Calusa Waterkeeper
John Cassani, Director
Center for Biological Diversity
Jacki Lopez, Florida Director
Citizens Allied for Safe Energy, Inc.
Barry J. White, President
Coalition of Immokalee Workers
Marley Monacello
Concerned Citizens of Bayshore Community, Inc. (CCBC)
Steve Brodkin, Vice President/Secretary
Conservancy of Southwest Florida
Julianne Thomas, Senior Environmental Planning Specialist
Conservation Alliance of St. Lucie County
Pam Harting, Vice President
Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida (DECF)
Janelle J. Christensen, PhD, MPH, President
Duval Audubon Society
Carol Bailey-White, Vice President
Alisa Coe, Staff Attorney
Englewood Indivisible
Jane Hunter, Leader
Environment Florida
Jenna Stevens, State Director
eYes on Conservation 20/20
Barbara Manzo, Chair
Farmworker Association of Florida
Antonio Tovar, General Coordinator
Florida College Democrats
Christina Pugliese, Director of Outreach
Florida Conservation Voters
Aliki Moncrief, Executive Director
Florida Consumer Action Network
Susan McGrath, Executive Director
Florida Defenders of the Environment
Jim Gross, Executive Director
Florida Policy Institute
Sadaf Knight, CEO
Florida Public Interest Research Group (Florida PIRG)
Matt Cassale, Transportation Campaign Director
Florida Rights of Nature Network
Joseph Bonasia, Secretary
Florida Springs Council
Ryan Smart, Executive Director
Florida State University Democrats
Alicia Camaliche, Vice President
Florida Veterans for Common Sense
Gene Jones, President
Friends of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Ron Seifer, President
Friends of Split Oak Forest
Valerie Anderson, President
Friends of the Everglades
Eve Samples, Executive Director
Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge
Nicholas Lefkow, President
Friends of the Wekiva River
Mike Cliburn, Secretary
GAEA Guides – Guided Kayak Nature Tours
Connie Langmann, Owner
Goodwin Lumber Company, Inc.
Carol Goodwin, President
Green Horizon Land Trust
Marian Ryan, President
Hands Along the Water
Samantha Gentrup, Executive Director
Healthy Gulf
Christian Wagley, Coastal Organizer, Florida-Alabama
Highlands County Audubon Society
Dale L. Gillis, President
Hillsborough County-Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida
Russ Conn, Chair
Independent Party of Florida
Ernie Bach, State Chairman
Indivisible St Johns FL
Mary Lawrence, Founder
International Dark Sky Association Florida
Diana Umpierre, Chair
Jefferson Progress & Preservation Committee
Michele Arceneaux, President
League of Women Voters Florida
Dr. Judy Hushon, Natural Resources Chair
League of Women Voters of Florida of North Pinellas County
David Sillman, Action Group Co-Chair
Lee Future
Don Eslick, Founding Member
ManaSota-88, Inc.
Glenn Compton, Chairman
Miakka Community Club
Becky Ayech, President
Miami-Dade Democratic Environmental Caucus
Dustin Thaler, Vice President
Mountain Lion Foundation
Debra Chase, CEO
One Protest
Adam Sugalski, Executive Director
Our Santa Fe River, Inc.
Michael Roth, President
Pelican Island Audubon Society
Ricard Baker, Ph.D., President
Physicians for Social Responsibility Florida
Marybeth Dunn, MPH, Executive Director
Progress Florida
Mark Ferrulo, Executive Director
Rainbow River Conservation, Inc.
Burt Eno, President
Rebah Farm
Carol Ahearn, Owner
Rum 138
Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Owner
Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation
Leah Reidenbach, Research Associate
Save Orange County, Inc.
Kelly J Semrad, Vice Chair
Save Our Creeks
Carole Fields, Vice President
Save the Manatee Club
Anne Harvey, Staff Attorney
Sierra Club
Frank Jackalone, Chapter Director
Silver Springs Alliance, Inc.
Chris Spontak, President
South Florida Wildlands Association
Matthew Schwartz, Executive Director
Speak Up Wekiva, Inc.
Chuck O’Neal, President
Stonecrab Alliance
Karen Dwyer, Ph.D., Co-founder
Tampa Bay Climate Alliance
Brooke Erret, Florida Organizer
The Climate Reality Project, Gainesville FL Chapter
Deborah Scheuer, Chapter Chair
The Common Ground Project
Lisa Perry, Executive Director
United Waterfowlers Florida
Newton Cook, President
University of Tampa College Democrats
Claire Breeden, President
WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS)
John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper
Xtinction Rebellion
Warren Whistler, Coordinator-Tampa Bay
100 Thousand Poets for Change
Terri Carrion & Michael Rothenberg, Co-founders