November FloridAgriculture eNewsletter
Florida Farm Bureau Federation was an active participant over the past year on the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) Southwest Florida Task Force, the Northern Turnpike Task Force, and the Suncoast Task Force. All three task forces concluded in mid-October with reports submitted to the Governor, Senate President, and Speaker of the House.
There were a lot of public misconceptions throughout the process because the task forces did not decide ‘yea or nay’ IF toll roads will be built. Nor did the task forces decide where a toll road will be built in the future as each task force focused on a region as a whole.
The task forces did provide a long list of Guiding Principles for future road rehabilitation or construction looking at community/county priorities for roads and other services such as water, sewer and broadband. The task forces also considered landowner and agriculture’s needs for efficient roadways but also concern about urban sprawl, dividing farm parcels, and ease of Ag machinery movement on local roadways. Finally, conservation was a key element in all of the task force discussions.
A key takeaway from all of the task force reports is to utilize current infrastructure as much as possible into the future. Current corridors such as US 19 and 98 in the big bend or US 17 and 27 in southwest Florida should be extensively considered for improvement before creating a new road.
There is more to come as a result of the M-CORES legislation and our members should stay involved in the process as the Florida Department of Transportation receives guidance from the Governor’s office and legislators on any next steps.