THE TOLL ROADS ARE BACK!! LET’S SAY #NoBuild (scroll down to learn more)

FDOT is planning a TOLL ROAD from Wildwood to a yet to be determined terminus. Folks living in Levy, Marion, Citrus, and Sumter County could be impacted either being up-ended, displaced entirely, or having the rural quality of life that’s makes the Nature Coast so special spoiled.

It has always been our position to oppose ALL of the routes, all of the toll roads originally imagined under the former M-CORES program.  There isn’t one alternative that spares critical wild/springshed/rural lands and there is zero proof that there is a need for any of the routes.  Our position and arguments remain the same.  We still oppose exploring the “least offensive” outcome, because any and all of the routes spell SPRAWL that threatens what we hold dear.  We will not be fooled into accepting the move of the threat to someone else’s backyard.

If you haven’t heard already, it is called the NORTHERN TURNPIKE EXTENSION. It could slice through our conservation lands, horse trails, farms and residential neighborhoods, aquifer recharge areas, and spring sheds. 

Northern Turnpike Extension “kick off” events are: 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, December 9, 2021, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

  • In-person at the College of Central Florida, Citrus Campus, 3800 S Lecanto Highway, Lecanto, FL 34461

“Kick off” Facebook event pages:

Chiefland kick off:  https://fb.me/e/60FxQm4pe

Lecanto kick off:  https://fb.me/e/421SgTA3N 

If you plan to attend either event and would like to help No Roads to Ruin activists distribute “No Build” signs, campaign stickers, circulate sign up sheets for folks to get involved, and/or help take photos of NRTR activists in action, email michael.mcgrath@sierraclub.org. Plan to arrive one hour early for setup. 

We encourage anyone who lives outside of the NTE project area to attend the events virtually and join the “No Build” chorus.  We are all in this together.

To register for virtual or in-person attendance go here: https://floridasturnpike.com/turnpike-projects/featured-projects/northern-turnpike-extension/

Go to the same link to see the current project process schedule, submit a comment, and more. 

Dunnellon City Council will hold a community workshop on the Northern Turnpike Extension that same week, on Thursday, Dec 8 at 5:30 pm in Dunnellon City Hall:  20750 River Dr, Dunnellon, FL 34431.

Rob Balmes, Director of the Marion County Transportation Planning Organization, will address the proposed toll road extension. Please attend, comment against the NTE, ask hard questions, and advocate for the Mayor and City Council to oppose the roads with a new NTE-specific “No Build” resolution.

Facebook event: https://fb.me/e/1s79FEwDs 

Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SuncoastNorthernTurnpikeConnector/permalink/5025460627465272/ 

Information we have learned from FDOT so far:

  • The in-person meetings in Chiefland and Lecanto will be informal “1-on-1” (open house) style events with attendees walking around different stations where FDOT staff/contractors will be talking to individuals or small groups.  We were told there will be comment cards to fill out.  

  • The comment period is now open and will remain open until the Project, Development & Environmental (PD&E) phase is over in Spring 2023.  

  • Commenters must MAKE IT VERY CLEAR THAT THEY ARE OPPOSED TO THE NTE in their written comment.  FDOT is still claiming it is too hard to determine whether commenters are for or against, so don’t mince your words.  Please consider starting your comment with something like “I am opposed to all route alternatives.  No build is the only option.”

  • The previous “No Build” or “repeal M-CORES” resolutions previously passed by many local governments will not be considered by FDOT.  Local governments must pass new “anti-NTE” resolutions.  Check out this draft resolution you can use. 

  • FACT:  Despite FDOT failing to acknowledge the “No Build” option on the video and website, “No Build” is always an option.  

  • FDOT has no firm definition of “co-location,” so be very wary when you see/hear it.

  • Beware:  FDOT expects to 1) reach out to cities/counties to “sell the project” and 2) be invited to speak at city/county commission meetings

  • “All” environmental info is available on EDTM webpage: https://etdmpub.fla-etat.org/est/index.jsp?startPageId=507&tpID=14480 

Maps, Factsheets, & Materials

NTE Fact sheet and NO BUILD handoutThese will be distributed at the Chiefland and Lecanto events by representatives of the No Roads to Ruin Coalition either at the entrance or inside the conference/auditorium rooms.

Draft town/city/county “NTE No Build” resolutionThe time is now to build support and identify elected champions for a local government resolution against the NTE.  Use this draft resolution to get started!

Want a pink yard sign?  Either Levy-specific or general “Rural Florida.”  Let us know. Email us at info@noroadstoruin.org.

Proposed route map

Check out this interactive Arc-GIS map made by Defender of Wildlife that analyzes and overlays many of the environmentally sensitive lands that would be impacted by the roadway proposal. Check out the map!  

Facts About the NTE threats to Rainbow Springs

FDOT’s Northern Turnpike Extension Arc GIS tool:  FDOT’s ETDM (Efficient Transportation Decision Making) website now has info on the Northern Turnpike Extension for Marion, Sumter, and Levy counties showing proposed routes which (no surprise to us) ignore the M-CORES Task Force recommendations.  Take the same link to get to the map/routes (on the left side of the screen look for “view of map” under “Project Detail.” 

Local Petitions:

Hashtags/slogans:  

You say kick off we say kick out!

You say kick off we say shut down!

Time to punt the NTE, FDOT!

#SaveItDontPaveIt

#KeepRuralFLRural

#NoBuild

#NoRoadstoRuin

#NoFarmsNoFood

#SaveOurSprings

#SaveTheManatees

#NoBuild

#NoRoadsToRuin

Have a handout out or other materials you’d like to share?  Send it our way and we will distribute it. Email us at info@noroadstoruin.org

NOTE:  The NRTR website still needs to be updated for this latest round of fights.  Thank you for your patience.  We will inform you when it has all the new materials, maps, information, news clips, etc. 

News Articles

Proposed FDOT project upsets some Levy County leaders, residents

By Julia Laude, WCJB Gainesville

Residents of one north central Florida county are raising concerns on a proposed Department of Transportation project.

DeSantis’ proposed $1B state gas-tax relief may not move dollars away from transportation projects

By Valerie Crowder, WFSU Tallahassee

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants lawmakers to spend $1 billion in surplus revenue next year to give Floridians a six-month break from paying state gas taxes.

The Florida DOT’s latest ‘Billionaire Boulevard’ plan has rural FL outraged

By Craig Pittman

Florida Phoenix

Last month, because of Halloween, TV was full of horror movies, including one cleverly titled “Halloween.”

Reduce tolls in Florida – the most tolled state in America. Infrastructure billions should.

By Scott Maxwell

Orlando Sentinel

We’re about to see more than $1 trillion in federal dollars injected into this nation’s economy — money meant to put Americans to work while also making needed investments in our roads, rail, ports, power grids and more.