This morning was the M-Cores North Corridor task force meeting! they took dozens of comments in opposition to the toll roads. It was incredibly inspiring! Some speakers pointed out that these online webinars made the process more accessible for some but much less accessible for others, especially those with limited phone and internet. Some, including myself, were wondering if task force members were even listening? It felt a little disheartening that our words could disappear into the ether, so I decided to record comments! I didn't think to do this until more than halfway through, but I'm planning to record all of them for tomorrow. I figured if we can't be certain our words are being amplified through this process, at least we can amplify each other! I'm butchering names, so let me know and I'll change them, and THANK YOU!
if any of these comments are yours, please let me know so I can add your name/handles/website. Thank you to everyone who spoke today, I regret that I didn't record them all for today, but it was really cool to hear them all :) If I missed you, send me a note so I can add to this!
To speak, or just listen to the inspiring comments tomorrow, sign up at this link: https://floridamcores.com/event/suncoast-corridor-webinar/
If you want to speak, you must sign up by 5 today! If you miss it, you can email your comments to the task force (send them to me too!)
Susan Chariso - Ft. Lauderdale
-Suwanee river is in the path of this road and would be impacted
-covid-19 economic impact makes these impractical
-there is irony of an online webinar seeking public comment from regions that don't have great access to internet, that this toll road is promising to bring to them. How can you get comments from these communities in this way?
-The funds should go to Florida Forever, which has been underfunded for years
-This task force is basically about "what can we five up?" and it's an obvious political ploy
Diana Upine - Pembroke Pines
-People on landlines can't connect and can't comment because they can't get an audio pin
-roads don't eliminate traffic
-Task force should be considering the impact of these roads on the last dark sky areas in Florida, which are important to wildlife and would be gone forever with these roads
-Protect agricultural land
-Fund Florida Forever, not these roads
Frito - Pine Crest, Miami
-this would increase greenhouse gasses
-Task Force, treat this as a binary choice, to build? or not to build?
Maxine Connoe - League of woman voters, sierra club
-Are all the freshwater springs on the map?
-Is the whole Florida Wildlife Corridor on the map?
-Covid could be inappropriate time for task force to continue
-You assume the toll will pay fro the road
-But where is the research?
-With the task force get these comments?
-Climate change is bigger issue
-Lives near gopher tortoise and indigo snake habitats
-Thank you to Levy county for passing no build resolution
-this is an unnecessary road that would put financial strain on the state
-it would damage agricultural and environmental lands
-it would forever change rural communities, making them more urban
-where is the data? this is not a normal FDOT process,
-Completion date is unrealistic
-Legislators, please repeal this
Wanda - Naples
-We have pollution problems to solve all over Florida due to number of people already here
-residents use 650 gallons of water per day
-We only have 760 gallons of water available per day
-this road would invite more people to move here, endangering out water supply
-we already have worsening saltwater intrusion
-we need to stop this road and upgrade our water infrastructure instead
-we need to improve the living conditions of current residents first
Jeff Shapiro- Sierra club, league of woman voters and NAACP
-Webinar tech not working for most people
-Cost to benefit ration is too high
-should not go forward/No Build
-Not feasible with costs of covid
-Economic costs are too high
-wouldn't help with hurricanes
-harm to panthers/bears/environment
-Task Force/ Legislators, pay attention to voters
Jake - student at USF
-Is the task force even online? are they listening?
-This is a Trojan horse
-People in rural communities probably don't want more Starbucks and Walmarts, which is what these roads would bring them
-State is footing this bill
-Layering GIS maps isn't really science
-very disturbed by what is going on
-Project should be put on hold
-Talents of task force would be redirected
I wish I recorded the other comments, but I will for those who speak tomorrow! If I've misrepresented the comments of anyone who spoke, or if I can fix your names, email me! The following are other comments and people I remembered. I listened to everything and have been so impressed today and yesterday! I hope by recording comments in this way they can have a second life 🙂
A few of the other comments I remember!:
-The Northern turnpike route doesn't makes sense, it would cross farms and environmental land
-Why are we catering to future residents, instead of the ones we currently have?
-We should be spending this money on fixing broken public transit
-We should be focused on climate change
-This road would be built through long leaf pine forests and inhibit maintenance fire regimes, further endangering species.
-The webinar makes these meetings way more accessible for some people.
-The task force meetings were more inaccessible before, requiring people to skip work and drive to remote areas to attend
My own talking points:
-these roads go right through the wildlife corridor
-The southern road in particular will cause the Florida Panther to go EXTINCT
-the revised GIS maps identify agriculture and wildlife conservation land as no-build areas, but because land acquisition has essentially stopped for the past 10 years, we can't rely on currently protected land to be sufficient to supporting wildlife.
-These northern routes would impact the last best hope for wildlife, including the black bear
-there are 4000 bears in Florida, but they live in isolated pockets of a few hundred that are genetically separated from each other. So if anything happens to a pocket it could collapse
-the Florida wildlife corridor, which this road would cross, is the last best hope for wildlife like the panther and bear. Its the only place in the state of Florida still big enough to support these species
-It's traumatic that we have pushed these once common species to the brink of extinction
-it's like a black mirror episode
I was sketching a mockingbird/nest in water's viburnum when I decided to start taking notes: