Planned M-CORES highways solve problem that isn’t there

 

Galvano first MCores Tampa In: Planned M-CORES highways solve problem that isn’t there | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
First M-CORES meeting in Tampa. Sen. Bill Galvano gives his used-car salesman sweet talk. Photo by Jim Tatum.
As Einstein said, “we can’t solve the problems we created by doing the same thing.”

In addition, the solution of building major new highways ignores the advancing technology that will make the new highways obsolete before they are complete, and before our grandchildren ever pay off the huge debt being issued to fund these highways.

Tim Jackson gives good reasons not to build these roads.  It is truly difficult to find reasons to build them if you are not one of the very few to profit from it.

It is clear that most people do not want these roads.  The Department of Transportation stresses public input, but is blundering onward seemingly oblivious to the negative input they are receiving.   At the last Sun Coast Connector Task Force meeting held by Webinar on April 30, 39 people gave public comment and only one was in favor, and the one in favor ignored all the sound environmental reasons for a “no build.”

Sorry, no link can be provided by the Orlando Sentinel.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
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Planned M-CORES highways solve problem that isn’t there | Commentary


GUEST COLUMNIST 
APR 30, 2020  6:00 AM

Florida’s governor and Legislature have started the process of funding three major new highways which will cut across a vast swath of the state’s rural areas — all with the purpose, as outlined by the secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation, of meeting the needs of our growing population.

The challenge of serving a growing population has been with Florida since its population started exploding more than 70 years ago. And the “solution” has always been to widen roads and build more and more roads further and further into the middle of the state in hopes of staying ahead of growing traffic volumes.

The “result” of this “solution” has primarily been sprawling low-density development marching into our countryside, replacing farms and open space.  It also has resulted in a population that is unhappy with their lifestyle — fighting traffic congestion every time they need to go anywhere, putting up with overcrowded schools, and experiencing the loss of open space, wildlife, and clean lakes, rivers, lagoons, streams, and springs. Another result of this “solution” has been the loss of farmland and rural communities which, ironically, is the opposite result from another supposed purpose of the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) — to bring economic development to Florida’s rural communities.

So the massive new highways we have funded over the past 70 years have not been a good solution to the challenge of population growth; and the proposed M-CORES will not be either.

As Einstein said, “we can’t solve the problems we created by doing the same thing.”

In addition, the solution of building major new highways ignores the advancing technology that will make the new highways obsolete before they are complete, and before our grandchildren ever pay off the huge debt being issued to fund these highways.

The advance of connected vehicles and autonomous vehicles will allow each lane of our existing highways to carry two to three times the number of vehicles it can carry today (primarily because vehicles will be much closer to one another since there will be no need to leave room for human reaction time).

This same technology will turn “drivers” into passengers who can conduct business, browse the internet, and visit with family and friends, all while being transported to their destination. The drudgery of today’s car travel will no longer exist, and the time spent traveling will be productive personal and/or work time.

Because of this advancing technology, investing in big new highways crossing the state now would be like the livery industry in 1920 investing in a five-fold increase in the number of horses and carriages to meet the needs of a growing population. Or like Blockbuster Video announcing in 2007 it would double its 9,000 stores in order to meet the needs of a growing population. Or like a telephone company today building miles and miles of new land lines to meet growing communications needs.

Three new major highways through Florida’s rural lands are not needed to meet the needs of a growing population. They will be a waste of money for which our grandchildren will pay dearly for at least the next 30 years through bond payments. Our grandchildren will pay even more in the loss of open space, natural lands, agriculture, and water quality.

One element of the M-CORES project does have great merit — the expansion of high-speed internet service to all of our rural residents and businesses. But we don’t need to build new highways to achieve this.

The modern 21st century approach is to make our rural areas attractive to a broader segment of people by providing high-speed internet service. With this 5G service, many people who can work remotely will choose a rural place, or a small town/city, to live — this will bring new revenues to local businesses and bring local consumers of local foods, and maybe attract some employment centers compatible with existing rural lifestyles….

Building major new highways across rural lands is the old way of thinking that has proven to be the wrong way of thinking for the past 70+ years. I urge our governor and legislative leaders to repeal funding for the M-CORES.

Tim Jackson, a transportation planner, has served on the board of directors of 1000 Friends of Florida for more than 20 years.

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