ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Sierra Club Florida Director Frank Jacalone says the group has no plans to back down, one day after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a controversial toll road expansion bill.
- Supporters of legislation say plan will prepare western part of state for growth
- Sierra Club argues that it will hurt the environment
- PREVIOUS: Environmentalists Protesting Toll Roads Expansion Plan
- LINK: Read Senate Bill 7068
On Friday, DeSantis signed the toll-road bill (SB 7068). The measure will take the initial steps to expand the Suncoast Parkway from Citrus County to the Georgia border; extend the Florida Turnpike west; and add a new toll road from Polk County to the Fort Myers area.
"We're probably going to need more than that, just given how our state is growing and just given that traffic can be a big problem," he said. "I'm supportive of infrastructure."
Supporters of the legislation say this new plan will help prepare the western part of the state for growth and help in evacuation orders should a natural disaster hit.
Gov. DeSantis signed the bill, despite strong opposition from environmental groups such as the Sierra Club. Jacalone says they are ready to fight and believes the new roads will hurt the environment and only benefit developers.
"This is the beginning of a war between developers and big money interests who want to make a profit and destroy the environment at the same time," he said. "Versus us, who want to save what is left of Florida."
According to Jacalone, the group plans to go before the task forces that are being created and push for changes that will protect the environment.
Under the bill, construction on the roads would begin by 2022 and be finished within eight years.