Public tells state to slow down on controversial toll roads

Chad Gillis, Fort Myers News-PressPublished 4:31 p.m. ET May 12, 2020 | Updated 4:31 p.m. ET May 12, 2020


Many of the public speakers said they’d like to see the state slow down on the roads. The routes haven’t been selected, and the idea for the roadways didn’t come from traditional sources.

“Attendance for this webinar is lower — and that includes task force members and everyday Floridians who are concerned about the devastating impacts of these roads,” said Lindsay Cross, with Florida Conservation Voters. “This project is bad for our water, wildlife, public health and rural communities. It deserves to be fully vetted, not rushed through when peoples’ lives and livelihoods are threatened. Proceeding with the roads-to-ruin project as-is in a time of unprecedented crisis is an act of bad government and a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

Some said the meeting and planning process should be postponed until the coronavirus pandemic is over.

“Many people are currently fighting for their lives or are worried about protecting themselves from the immediate threats that COVID-19 poses,” said Michael McGrath, with the Sierra Club. “Their ability to consider long-term environmental threats such as the proposed toll roads is extremely limited.

“As task force members and FDOT staff, you must consider the state of emergency that we find ourselves in and respond accordingly. It is ludicrous to expect a normal public engagement response during this planning process.”

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