No Build: FDOT toll road heading north towards the Suwannee Basin 2022-01-13

Floridians, please go to the Florida Department of Transportation’s Northern Turnpike Extension web page and tell FDOT we don’t need any more toll roads. Here’s where you can say No Build:

Doesn’t matter that No Build isn’t listed as an option. Tell them anyway.

[Routes with No Build sign]
Routes with No Build sign

Please also ask your state legislative delegation to stop this boondogle.

This new push for an unnecessary toll road is ignoring previous county and city resolutions against it. So ask them to pass another one, or a new one if they didn’t before. Here’s a draft resulution by the No Roads to Ruin coalition (Suwannee Riverkeeper is a member of NRTR).

Dunnellon already passed a resolution on Monday, December 21, 2021.

[Dunnellon Mayor Bill White No Build --No Roads to Ruin 2021-12-21]
Dunnellon Mayor Bill White No Build –No Roads to Ruin 2021-12-21

The next day, Levy County passed a No Build resolution; audio recording.

Marion County only sent a tepid letter. Here’s how to reach Marion County Commissioners. And a petition to sign.

If FDOT shows up at your city council or county commission to push this toll road, you can also show up and say you don’t want it.

NRTR offers pink No Build yard signs. Good both for your yard and for waving at meetings. Comes in both Rural Florida and Levy County versions.

[Rural Florida says no toll roads]
Rural Florida says no toll roads

Write a letter to the editor.

Get interviewed by TV or newspaper.

Get on a radio talk show, or call in to one.

Why Not

I attended online FDOT’s December 7, 2021 Kick-Off meeting. It was all double-speak. Which is it: the legislature told FDOT to build this thing “in the strategic interest”, or FDOT’s ACE process will determine a need, even though M-CORES went through much the same process and could not find any need? Supposedly there are separate processes to determine need and paths, but they’re running them at the same time.

The in-person meeting wasn’t even a presentation: it was just posters and FDOT contractors to talk to, like a pipeline Open House, and just as useless to the thousand people who showed up in Chiefland and the 300 in Lecanto.

Even M-CORES could not find any need for this (or any other) toll road. Just like SH 130 around Austin, Texas, this one would be broke from the start.

[Cracked dirt and SH 130 construction]
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, Cracked dirt and SH 130 construction, 2006-08-11.

Don’t wait to read about how it’s “fraudulent,” “improperly completed,” “insolvent,” in “bankruptcy.” Help stop this bad road now.


FDOT’s current aim is to run the toll road from FL 19 at Wildwood through the horse country of Marion County past Dunnellon into Levy County past Chiefland, stopping (for now) just short of the Suwannee River (or two other ways to get to US 19 near Crystal River or Yankeetown). That’s already a sizeable swath of the springs heartland of Florida.

But don’t expect it to stop there: FL SB 100 authorized this toll road to go “to a logical and appropriate terminus as determined by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)”.

The real aim is still the same as M-CORES: a toll road up US 19 across the Suwannee River to Jefferson County connecting to Thomasville, Georgia. Nevermind Jefferson County said they didn’t want it, and FDOT apparently never asked Thomasville or Thomas County.

[No Suncoast Connector Toll Road Jefferson County --Alicia Devine/Tallhassee Democrat, 2021-03-03]
No Suncoast Connector Toll Road Jefferson County –Alicia Devine/Tallhassee Democrat, 2021-03-03
Jeffrey Schweers, Tallahassee Democrat, March 3, 2021, End of the road(s)? Repeal of Florida toll roads project clears first stop in Legislature: “We really had to address the fiscal impact and feasibility” of the project, Sen. Gayle Harrell said.

Madison County does want it, and even tried to get a bill through the legislature last year changing the destination to there. That would mean even more destruction in the Suwannee River Basin.

All unnecessary. There is hardly any traffic on US 19.

[Empty US 19 Photo: Janet Barrow 2020-12-19]
Empty US 19 Photo: Janet Barrow 2020-12-19

Nobody needs a toll road to build out broadband Internet access or solar power. Use the money instead to finance rooftop solar panels and batteries so people aren’t without power for weeks after each hurricane, and some solid hurricane shelters so people don’t have to flee Florida every fall.

If you want more detail, FDOT has drilldown for everything from wetlands to noise.

But you don’t even need that to know an unnecessary toll road plowing through rural Florida’s horse and farm lands, its forests and wetlands, and across the Suwannee River, is not a good idea.

No Build!

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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