Friday, March 22, 2019

URGENT!!! Ask Florida Senators to VOTE NO on SB 7068 funding toll roads that would destroy rural Florida.

Senate Bill 7068 funds three toll roads through rural Florida that will fragment landscape and wildlife habitat. The intended “benefits” of these toll roads include water and sewer infrastructure which, with on and off ramps, will accelerate urban sprawl in the last of Florida’s undeveloped areas. Subdivisions and strip malls will proliferate and the natural resources that bring visitors to the State will be overused and overrun. The bill is now headed to the Senate Committee on Appropriations and we need your help.

Building these roads will be expensive! FDOT estimates it will cost $134 million by 2022 to build 13 miles of the Suncoast 2 Parkway[1] – over $10 million a mile. The projects proposed in this bill could cost over $3 Billion. That’s money that will be taken away from General Revenue which funds state parks, education, health care, and hurricane emergency relief.


Please call members of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and urge them to vote NO on SB 7068. 

Please make every effort to speak to staff in the Senator’s office. Nicely, but firmly, ask the staff person to tell the Senator to vote “NO”. If you live in a Senator’s district (see the counties below), be sure to say so! Constituents are very important to legislators. State why you don’t want these roads built.  If you don’t reach staff, please leave a voice mail.  Ask Sen. Lee (the sponsor of SB 7068) to please withdraw his bill.

Senator's Name
County or Counties Represented
Sen. Rob Bradley (R-FL-005) - Chair
Consists of Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, Suwannee, Union counties and part of Marion county
(850) 487-5005
Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-FL-010) - V. Chair
Consists of Citrus, Hernando counties and part of Pasco county
(850) 487-5010
Sen. Aaron Bean (R-FL-004)
Consists of Nassau county and part of Duval county
(850) 487-5004
Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-FL-027)
Consists of part of Lee county
(850) 487-5027
Sen. Lauren Book (D-FL-032)
Consists of part of Broward county
(850) 487-5032
Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-FL-024)
Consists of part of Pinellas county
(850) 487-5024
Sen. Oscar Braynon (D-FL-035)
Consists of parts of Broward, Miami-Dade counties
(850) 487-5035
Sen. Anitere Flores (R-FL-039)
Consists of Monroe county and part of Miami-Dade county
(850) 487-5039
Sen. George Gainer (R-FL-002)
Consists of Bay, Holmes, Jackson, Walton, Washington counties and part of Okaloosa county
(850) 487-5002
Sen. Audrey Gibson (D-FL-006)
Consists of part of Duval county
(850) 487-5006
Sen. Travis Hutson (R-FL-007)
Consists of Flagler, St. Johns counties and part of Volusia county
(850) 487-5007
Sen. Tom Lee (R-FL-020)
Consists of parts of Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk counties
(850) 487-5020
Sen. Debbie Mayfield (R-FL-017)
Consists of Indian River county and part of Brevard county
(850) 487-5017
Sen. Bill Montford (D-FL-003)
Consists of Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla counties
(850) 487-5003
Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-FL-028)
Consists of Collier, Hendry counties and part of Lee county
(850) 487-5028
Sen. Bobby Powell (D-FL-030)
Consists of part of Palm Beach county
(850) 487-5030
Sen. Darryl Rouson (D-FL-019)
Consists of parts of Hillsborough, Pinellas counties
(850) 487-5019
Sen. David Simmons (R-FL-009)
Consists of Seminole county and part of Volusia county
(850) 487-5009
Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-FL-022)
Consists of parts of Lake, Polk counties
(850) 487-5022
Sen. Linda Stewart (D-FL-013)
Consists of part of Orange county
(850) 487-5013
Sen. Perry Thurston (D-FL-033)
Consists of part of Broward county
(850) 487-5033

SB 7068 calls for shifting an escalating amount of dollars to plan for the tolled expressways from the State General Revenue Fund, rising to $135 million by 2022. The state would borrow billions of dollars more for construction. SB 7068 shifts money away from other important purposes like education, hurricane recovery, state parks and important maintenance on the roads we already have. Governor DeSantis has repeatedly raised concerns about the impact of toll roads on the pocketbooks of working Floridians.

These expressways would carve three corridors through Florida’s undeveloped areas:
  • "Southwest-Central Florida Connector" extending from Collier County to Polk County; a previous highway planned for the route was called the Heartland Parkway
  • "Suncoast Connector" extending from Citrus County to Jefferson County
  • "Northern Turnpike Connector" extending from the northern terminus of the Florida Turnpike northwest to the Suncoast Parkway

Click here and take a look at a detailed map of what would be impacted by these expressways. You can zoom in and out of areas of interest and the buttons on the upper right allow you to sort the potential impacts.

These roads would not serve an identified transportation purpose. Instead, legislators have advocated for them on different grounds:

They claim…..
We respond……
These highways will reduce traffic
That transit and planning relieve congestion, not building roads
These highways will result in economic development for rural communities
Road building is not a sustainable job creation strategy and these roads will route traffic away from communities established on existing roads
These highways will reduce hurricane evacuation times
Getting on the road in bad weather is dangerous. Floridians need more safe spaces in their communities to shelter during storms

It's important for those committee members to hear from concerned citizens like you that SB 7068 is a bad investment that will hurt the environment and accelerate urban sprawl.