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Florida Legislature votes to repeal massive toll road projects known as M-CORES


A Senate bill repealing massive toll road projects known as M-CORES  passed the Florida House on a vote of 115-0 Tuesday.

But the northern Turnpike extension from Sumter County to the Suncoast Parkway is still in the works.

Senate Bill 100 now goes to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who signed M-CORES into law in 2019.

The massive projects fell out of favor as transportation funding shrank and the task forces set up to study them recommended updating existing corridors instead.

St. Petersburg Rep. Ben Diamond urged the repeal, saying they are listening to feedback from Floridians.

"Those voices," he said, "are very different voices from around the state, many people from our small towns, from our ag community, many people from our environmental community."

The bill prioritizes widening rural roads, improving traffic on U.S. 19 and extending the Turnpike at Wildwood.

Environmentalists have supported the bill as better than M-CORES, though the Turnpike extension and U.S. 19 improvements raise concerns.

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.