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Sumter County asks lawmakers to drop December 2022 deadline for starting Florida Turnpike extension


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Sumter County commissioners, including Chairman Garry Breeden, third from left, approved a letter Tuesday asking their legislative delegation to push for changes to plans for a Florida Turnpike extension. Photo: Joe Byrnes

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Sumter County commissioners are asking the Florida Legislature to reconsider its hard deadline for starting construction of a Turnpike extension.

Their letter to the county’s delegation comes after a state-mandated task force failed to find a need for the new toll road.

A 2019 law set the stage for three new toll roads including the Northern Turnpike Connector linking the Florida Turnpike to the Suncoast Parkway and cutting through northwest Sumter County.

Under the law, construction will start by the end of 2022, one year before county land-use approvals are expected.

The conflict is a sticking point in Sumter County’s letter.

And Commission Chairman Garry Breeden says local governments want to see a whole different approach.

“Our recommendation,” he says, “would be that DOT maximize improvements on existing corridors before creating new corridors.”

He says widening those highways would have minimal environmental and social impact and still pull traffic off Interstate 75.

 


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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes

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Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV 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.

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