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Suncoast Connector Open House held in Dixie

By Cindy Jo Ayers
M-Cores Suncoast Connector held an Open House for citizens to learn more about the new road on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at the Old Town Education Center (former Old Town Elementary School). The Suncoast Connector is the new road that will be built through Gilchrist, Levy and Dixie Counties. The Open House was very well attended by residents of Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy Counties. Many citizens were leaving comments in the comment boxes and some were not happy the road will be coming through this area of Florida.
The open house included six stations that explained M-Cores, the Task Force, The Project Schedule, a video presentation, study area (which includes the Tri-County area), and  interactive Smartboards.
According to a pamphlet that was being handed out M-Cores is, “The Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-Cores) Program was established within the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) through new legislation (Chapter 2019-43, F.S.). The purpose of the program is to: revitalize rural communities, encourage job  creation, provide regional connectivity while leveraging technology, enhance the quality of life and public safety, and protect the environment and natural resources. The overall objective of the M-Cores program is to advance three regional corridors that can accommodate multiple modes of transportation and various types of infrastructure, such as communication, energy, and water.”
During the open house the people from M-CORES went over information that has already been published and no proposed route or routes for the new highway were
given at the open house.
This public meeting did include a box for public comment about the future Suncoast Connector which is the portion that will come through this area of Florida. If any citizens in this area wish to make a comment about the new road they can send them to Communications Director, 605 Suwannee Street, Tallahasee, FL 32399-0450 or email comments to FDOT.Listens@dot.state.fl.us, you can also visit FloridaMCORES.com for the latest information about the Suncoast Connector.
The Task Force will meet about every other month and FDOT will hold two community workshops around January or February 2020 and sometime around April and May of 2020.  By October 2020 FDOT will submit route recommendations to the Governor and Legislature.
It might be a while before the proposed route or routes are released to the public.
The next Task Force Meeting will be held on December 17, in Taylor County at the IFAS Auditorium, 203 Forest Park Drive in Perry, FL.
The Suncoast Connector is expected to cost $1.3 billion for around 150 miles of toll road and is slated to be completed in 2030.