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Published on: News

Urge Your Legislators to Co-Sponsor Toll Road Repeal Bill

published on: March 10, 2021

Since 2019, Conservation Voters across the state have demanded an end to the M-CORES toll roads program because it is bad for water, wildlife, rural communities, and taxpayers. And thanks to your advocacy and continued support, Florida may be taking steps to repeal this bad program. 

Senator Tina Polsky (D – Boca Raton) and Representative Ben Diamond (D – St. Petersburg) have filed legislation (HB 763 / SB 1030) to completely repeal the bill that created the M-CORES toll road program and stop the construction of up to 330 miles of toll roads through rural Florida. Thanks to their bold leadership, we have a chance to put on the brakes on M-CORES this year and save our wildlife, water, and public health from irreparable harm.

Recently, Senate Transportation Chair Gayle Harrell (R – Stuart) has filed SB 100 which is a partial M-CORES repeal bill. The bill repeals the program and funding for M-CORES, and redirects funding back to the State Transportation Trust Fund. The bill also seeks to expand roads from the terminus of the Suncoast Parkway 2 in Citrus County to I-10 in Madison County and examines the potential for new tolled or untolled roads from the Turnpike in Wildwood to an unspecified location, potentially along US19 (part of the potential footprint of the Northern Turnpike Connector and Suncoast Connector). While there is not a House companion, 

SB 100 passed its first committee stop (Transportation) and now moves onto Senate Appropriations. There were concerns from some committee members about the need for more protection for the environment and Black or communities of color which can often be bifurcated by new roads. 

FCV and its members have stood firm on demanding a full repeal of M-CORES. We cannot support SB 100 at this time because of the potential for new road infrastructure that may damage the environment and rural communities. As a Steering Committee member of the No Roads to Ruin Coalition, we have shared the following statement with Senate leadership and the press:

The No Roads to Ruin Coalition Steering Committee cannot support SB100 in its current form because of the potential for new toll roads through important natural and rural areas. We will oppose SB 100 until the possibility of a Northern Turnpike Connector is removed from the bill. 

Any expansion to existing roadways should depend upon the demonstration of need and fiscal feasibility while not negatively impacting our water and natural resources, rural communities, communities of color, and agricultural lands. 

We support a full repeal of M-CORES and its funding of all programs associated with the Southwest-Central, Northern Turnpike, and Suncoast Corridors through the passage of SB 1030 and HB 763. 

The No Roads to Ruin Coalition Steering Committee includes the Center for Biological Diversity, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Florida Conservation Voters, Florida Springs Council, Progress Florida, Sierra Club Florida, and Save the Manatee Club. The coalition is made up of over 100 organizations and businesses across the state.

As taxpayers, we’ve already thrown away more than $130 million dollars on this budget-busting M-CORES program. If fully constructed, these new toll roads could cost our state nearly $25 billion. It’s time to repeal the full program and pass SB 1030/HB 763.

We encourage you to take action now. Can you email your legislators and ask them to co-sponsor SB 1030/HB 763?

After you speak out via email, we could use your help via video as well. We want to hear from you. Why do you want to #RepealTheRoads? Here is the idea:  You record a short video and the No Roads to Ruin coalition will share it on our social media platforms.  We can work together to send a loud and clear message to legislators: Floridians across the state want our elected lawmakers to repeal the roads this legislative session.

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