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Task Force Meeting, August 27, 2019, Tampa Convention Center.
Presented slickly, forcefully, rapidly and misleadingly by Florida Department of Transportation, and aided and abetted by Bill Galvano and lobbyists friends who stand to get rich by destroying some of the best of Florida that is left.
This was a wishful thinking presentation that wanted to be over and done and have the roads built yesterday before the decision makers had time to find its many flaws. This was Galvano’s dream child based on money and jobs and screw the environment. And it was coated with syrup and rammed down the throats of the Task Force members, some of whom gagged a bit.
The Task Force Members, at least for the Suncoast Connector Corridor, were not as dumb as the road planners expected.
From about nine until ten am, the organizers gave all attendees a rundown of the program, emphasizing only beneficial aspects. Example: Task Force members were asked to make a short list of economical opportunities the new roads would bring. They were not asked to balance it out with any negative aspects.
This was not an objective overview to see all sides of the issue.
Lawrence Mower of the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau writes in his article “Talks on toll roads hit pothole:”
Kent Wimmer, the senior northwest Florida representative for the nonprofit Defenders of Wildlife, said the task force’s tight deadline gave the impression that the state was going to go ahead with the roads regardless of what they did.
‘The Legislature did not give this task force, give (the Department of Transportation), the ability to actually have a well thought-out process,’ he said.
Catchword of the day was definitely “environment” “environment” and “environment,” since this was included by just about every presentation speaker. Each time they used the word, their insincerity made it into a hammer blow putting another small crack in their credibility.
During the long lunch break, protestors outside the building make their opinions known.
Sometimes a trolley got in the way. Principal protest organizers here are Cris Costello, Sierra Club, (back turned with packpack) and Sarah Gledhill, Center for Biological Diversity, in dark dress to the right.
Frank Jackalone, Senior Organizing Manager/ Florida Chapter Sierra Club
After a two and one-half lunch break, the individual corridors met in breakout groups to focus on each one’s appropriate area.
Among the four environmental groups allotted the Task Force was OSFR advisor Thomas Hawkins of 1000 Friends of Florida. All the environmental Members spoke out for the environment. Especially well spoken was Audubon representative Charles Lee who made excellent points.
The purpose of the Task Force meetings is to enable a “consensus-building process.” This, of course, emplies a consensus favorable to the few getting rich.
To that end, FDOT/M-CORES has planned seven more meetings before the October, 2020 deadline for their recommendation to the governor. Since we were unable to find these on state agency’s website we are posting photographs of two pages below.
Several dozen public speakers went to the podium to voice opposition to the roads. Three people gave support.
Marian and John Ryan, Sierra Club.
Emma Turner of Young Leaders for Wild Florida addresses the Task Force.
You can tell M-CORES you don’t want new roads in Florida.
HELP SAVE FLORIDA
Send a letter to Ann Howard
605 Suwannee Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450
OR email FDOT.Listens@dot.state.fl.us
OR attend one of the upcoming meetings and speak
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-