Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Sierra Club Florida Statement on SB 100 (M-CORES): PROGRESS BUT NOT A VICTORY

April 28, 2021

Sierra Club Florida Statement on SB 100

Sierra Club Florida did not support SB 100 because the bill did not stop all of the roads at the heart of M-CORES.  As such, we cannot proclaim that its passage and expected signing by the Governor is a triumph.  Getting rid of 1 out of 3 new toll roads is certainly progress, but it is not victory.  SB 100 still leaves North Florida and the natural resources upon which it depends at risk. 

Those who have worked hard and long to end M-CORES should be encouraged by the steps forward. Our collective work led to the demise of the toll road that would have imperiled the Western Everglades and existentially threatened the Florida panther. This is an enormous relief.

But this fight isn't over.  We must press on together to protect our natural resources and local communities.

What SB 100 does and does not do:

1.   Eliminates the M-CORES program but not all the roads included in the program.

2.   Eliminates the Southwest-Central Florida Connector in its entirety.

3.      Keeps the Northern Turnpike extension on the books with a different timetable.

4.      Does not eliminate the threat previously presented by the M-CORES Suncoast Connector. 

5.      Provides US-19 north from the terminus of the Suncoast Parkway to I-10 as a way to replace the M-CORES Suncoast Connector.

6.      Includes the M-CORES task force recommendation of avoiding conservation lands with respect to upgrades of arterial highways, but only "to the greatest extent practicable," and not specifically to the US 19 project.

7.      Frees up money once earmarked for M-CORES to be available for needed road projects throughout the state.