Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) submitted the final M-CORES Task Force reports on Nov. 12 to the FDOT Secretary, Governor, and legislative leadership. The reports crystalize what we already know: that the roads are not needed and that, if built, our environment and taxpayers will pay the price.
Here are some high-level takeaways from the reports:
- Task Forces were not able to fully address their charge of evaluating the needs for and impacts of the respective corridors due to a lack of information.
- Task Forces could not conclude that there is a specific need for a completely new greenfield corridor or modifications of existing facilities through the study area to achieve the statutory purpose, based on the information available.
- Task Forces had a preference for improvement or expansion of existing major highway corridors and advised FDOT to consider a “no build” alternative in future project development activities.
- The top three concerns, based on public comments received were impacts to wildlife habitat, rural quality of life, and project costs.
- FDOT committed to not impacting certain environmental resources, such as springheads or coastal high hazard areas, but will not address specific conservation, wildlife, and water resource concerns until future project stages.
- Citing the ambitious timeline and dire economic and fiscal outlook facing Florida, the Task Forces requested that the Governor and Legislature consider adjusting or removing the deadlines for corridor construction and other milestones.
- Despite FDOT’s desire for an inclusive, consensus-building mechanism, this is not a consensus document as not all Task Force members signed on. 1000 Friends of Florida, in particular, cited concerns that there is not enough protection for the environment or rural communities and that urban sprawl would ruin these unspoiled parts of Florida.
Your comments and opposition to the toll roads made a difference, as evidenced by the lack of consensus and the strong advocacy for “no build” in the final reports. Over the past 15 months, you have submitted nearly 10,000 public comments and petition signatures opposing the roads to ruin.
Your support has allowed FCV staff to have the following impact:
- Five op-eds in key media markets
- Dozens of mentions in online and print news articles
- Six radio or tv interviews
- Nine web-based presentations or Facebook Live videos
- Participation and public comment at 30 Task Force meetings
FCV will now turn our efforts to repealing this bill during the 2021 legislative session. Senate Bill 7068 which created the disastrous M-CORES program, was rushed through in 2019 with opposition by more than 100 organizations, but strong support from corporate and special interests. Along with partners in the No Roads to Ruin Coalition, we will seek a full repeal of the bill and demand that no more taxpayer money be wasted on this project.
Your continued support will be needed as we work to repeal the program and advocate that your taxpayer dollars be invested in what you care about: protection of our water, wildlife, agricultural areas, rural communities and the public health needs of Floridians statewide.
For more information, check out this video from Government Relations Director, Lindsay Cross.