Toll Road Fantasy and Reality 2.0

Google Florida Statute Title XXVI Chapter 338 LIMITED ACCESS AND TOLL FACILITIES chapter 338 if you haven’t read the law. Go to www.FloridaMCORES.COM to read frequently asked questions, explore interactive maps and get lots of real information. This is factual, based on the law and not on fear and misinformation.
CLAIM – Toll Road will destroy the environment, habitat and hunting.
The statute addresses environment in a big way. It says that it must comply with federal environmental law where federal dollars are involved. Where there’s no federal aid, “the department must perform a project evaluation that considers the following: a. Project purpose and need; b. An alternatives analysis; c. Existing conditions of the project area and potential impacts or enhancements the project may have social, economic, cultural, and connectivity issues and resources; d. Anticipated permits identified during the project development and environmental study; e. Opportunities for stakeholder and regulatory agency coordination; and f. Public and agency comments and coordination.” Regarding protection of existing and targeted conservation lands the statute says: “To the greatest extent practical, corridor configuration, project alignment, and interchange locations shall be designed so that project rights-of-way are not located within conservation lands acquired under the Florida Preservation 2000 Act and the Florida Forever program.” Hence, all Wildlife Management Areas are protected to the greatest extent possible.
However, given all this I feel monitoring and assurance is necessary to track performance against the program’s commitment.
CLAIM – Our water will be stolen and sent south.
The statute says: “The intended benefits of the program include, but are not limited to, addressing issues such as: (d) Broadband, water, and sewer connectivity” To be clear there are 10 other benefits along with item (d). DOT has clarified that along the road connectivity is provided for these utilities. Had this been done along I-10 we could have run our sewer line the few miles from 19 to Lloyd and not spend so much money to put the sewer line to and down 59. There is nothing about pumping water south. The Florida Aquifer belongs to all the citizens of the state and there is demand for good fresh water. The bigger more realistic demand for fresh water is from the east where water supplies are being encroached by salt water (St John’s and Duval Counties). A much less discussed water issue is that water management districts issue permits for residents and businesses without requiring meters. Large bore wells are permitted to high water demand businesses and to plantations to floor duck fields. Water management needs to adopt the saying; ‘You manage what you measure.’
CLAIM – We’ll turn into Miami, Orlando or Tampa.
I understand this to suggest shopping malls and high density sprawl will take over. People have property rights and can do what they want with their property. With strong land use regulation much can be done. We can be thoughtful and deliberate about where and how development takes place. The days of large rampant strip mall construction are dwindling as internet retail takes over and the shift is towards specialized retail geared to unique products and service markets. Residential growth depends largely on job availability and economic opportunity and will likely be slow and steady in Jefferson. Development is pushing west from Tallahassee, as well as within Jefferson. Consider the developments east of Costco and west of I-10 along Mahan. Also, consider our ‘Heritage Hills’ development near 59 and I-10 (sold out); and the amount of cleared land you see in Jefferson. Depending where and if the toll road terminates, there will be some national restaurant chains and gas stations exist (See I-10 & I-19). These naturally congregate around transportation corridor interchanges. We are likely to have more residents and visitors as well.
The sky is not falling! We do need to evolve as change is inevitable. We have time to prepare and get ahead of the changes and make them on our terms.

Phil Calandra