Three years ago it looked like Florida would build three new toll highways through rural areas. It was a project known as M-CORES.
But after backlash from residents, the proposal was trimmed down to just focus on one – an extension of the Florida Turnpike to the north.
Opposition by residents
Since then, residents of Citrus, Levy, Marion and Sumter counties and their local governments* have fought back against the proposed Northern Turnpike Extension.
Residents of the Sumter County town of Royal were especially vocal at county commission meetings. “It is unacceptable for politicians to try and put highways through our African American community like they have time and time again,” Royal activist Kathy Towns told the commissioners, according to the Villages-News.com.
FDOT pauses the process
The alliance called “No Roads to Ruin Coalition” seems to have won … at least for now.
This month the Florida Department of Transportation announced a “pause” for the project because it had not been able to identify any viable corridor for the toll highway.
Our guest on WMNF’s Tuesday Café was Michael McGrath, with the Sierra Club and part of the No Roads to Ruin Coalition.
“We can see blatant examples of these highways being rammed through Black communities within our state. And it’s something we have enduring legacies with that have created things around segregation and also environmental injustice. And this would have been the latest example of this as well.
“So this is something that was a bad proposal for not only communities of color but also rural communities within Florida. And it was something residents really did not want to have impact their quality of life.
“Ultimately this was a quality of life issue at the very end of the day. And people did not want a new highway coming through the communities at all. Because it is rural Florida. It’s the Nature Coast.
“Anyone who has been to that part of Florida they recognize that it’s one of the parts of Florida that has not been overcome with sprawl and also traffic congestion. And people want to keep it that way.”Michael McGrath
Listen to the full show here:
Watch the full interview here:
City and town councils that passed “no build” resolutions
*The following towns also passed “no build” resolutions: Dunnellon City Council, Inverness City Council, Inglis Town Commission, Yankeetown Council, and Bronson Town Council.
WMNF’s Tuesday Café
WMNF’s Tuesday Cafe begins at 10:06 a.m. ET. You can listen on 88.5 FM in Tampa Bay, on wmnf.org or on the WMNF Community Radio app.
Also on the August 23, 2022, show was a discussion about the suit that Andrew Waren filed against Ron DeSantis.