Jefferson County residents push back against toll road expansion

Published: Feb. 10, 2020 at 7:52 PM EST
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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News

February 10, 2020

MONTICELLO, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Jefferson County community is saying no to a new toll road that could be developed through the area, pushing back against plans for the Suncoast Connector.

State officials are looking to expand three toll roads over the next ten years. One of those could go through Jefferson County, but residents in Monticello don't want it.

A multi county agency task force is looking at potential locations for the toll road. It's proposed to expand from Citrus County to the Georgia state line in Jefferson County.

Hundreds of signs are posted around Monticello opposing the projects, saying "No Toll Roads," and "Jefferson Against Toll Roads."

Many residents and business owners said the project could jeopardize local businesses, which give Monticello its identity. They also raise concerns about the infrastructure, saying they don't believe the roads can handle the added traffic the toll roads could bring through the area.

"I think it's a very bad idea for a multitude of reasons. The primary reason is, where toll roads come in they tend to bring in corporate businesses, and it'll kill the little cell phone businesses in Monticello," said resident Robert Armstrong. "I do think they need to widen up a couple roads for hurricane evacuation. During hurricanes, 90 and 19 are disasters, but a toll road is not the solution."

On Tuesday, the task force will hold a meeting in Madison County. The group will be looking at potential corridors for the expansion, as well as things like how to minimize environmental impacts of the project and how to best protect water quality in the region.

The task force plans to have several more meetings throughout the year across the regions which could be impacted by the expansion.

The group expects to have a final analysis ready in October.

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