In the last days of the 2019 Legislative Session, our elected leaders mandated that three enormously costly and environmentally damaging toll roads be built in the last remaining rural areas of the peninsula (the roads were known as MCORES). Florida Wildlife Federation (FWF) and other groups immediately started a campaign to stop this effort, which was beneficial only to potential developers along the routes and the road builders themselves. Moreover, we presently have billions of dollars in road maintenance and improvements, especially in South Florida, that need to be attended to. Three task forces were formed to examine the toll roads, and all three concluded that there was no necessity for the roads and the expense. Additionally, non-partisan Florida Tax Watch declared the toll roads a financial disaster.
Thankfully, the 2021 Legislative Session, after two years of public opposition, has now repealed most of the MCORES toll roads mandate through Senate Bill 100 (SB 100). This bill provides for a much less expensive and onerous plan that puts the process under the Department of Transportation and greatly limits road expansion. For that we are grateful, as the MCORES toll roads would have caused the end of rural lifestyles, severely degraded our environment and water resources, and possibly spelled the end for the Florida panther.
FWF played its part by proposing amendments to the sponsor of SB 100 and thereby many environmental protection provisions made their way into the bill. As SB 100 has now overwhelmingly passed both chambers of the Florida Legislature with veto-proof majorities, we await action by the Governor.
Many thanks to all who took part in our democracy and voiced your concerns over the toll roads!