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M-CORES task forces submit reports without recommendations

By SANIBEL-CAPTIVA CONSERVATION FOUNDATION - | Jan 5, 2021

After a year of public Zoom meetings, the three M-CORES task forces charged with evaluating the need for the state’s massive new 330-mile toll road project have completed their task.

The three-segment Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) task forces met for the last time the week of Oct. 19 before their input was synthesized and compiled into a Florida Department of Transportation report delivered to the governor and the state Legislature on Nov. 13.

The task forces did not reach a recommended consensus on the need for these new roads, which many would argue was its primary task. Instead, they focused on high-level recommendations and guiding principles related to the new toll roads. The summaries of each task force report open with the line: “Due to the early stage of planning for this corridor and the limited data and analysis on potential needs and impacts available at this time, the Task Force was not able to fully address its charge of evaluating the needs for and impacts of the … corridor.”

“There was a strong appeal by several task force members to include the ‘no build’ option, but that recommendation was not included in the final FDOT report,” Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Environmental Policy Assistant Holly Schwartz said. “FDOT said it would look at that option as corridor alignments are reviewed more closely.”

The SCCF is a member of the No Roads to Ruin Coalition, which believes that the final report falls short of laying out the environmental protection mandates promised in the original legislation.

“These new toll roads will destroy hundreds of acres of wetlands and will encourage sprawl that would be responsible for impacting thousands of additional acres of wetlands,” Schwartz said.

To view the full task force reports, visit floridamcores.com.