I have concerns over a large and wasteful government project in our area and wanted to share my thoughts.
- $80+ million dollars of tax-payer money (mostly from a stimulus bill from last year) are being used to revive an ecologically-devastating, and widely-unpopular project known as the I-95 Interchange/Pioneer Trail project, located in east central Florida next to New Smyrna Beach. This is harmful for numerous reasons, but in summary:
- The $80 million cost is enormous! For right-of-way alone, they will be paying over $30 million! For roughly 60 acres, that is ~$500,000/acre for low-lying swampland! I have yet to see any appraisals, but this seems to be a gouging of the tax-payer.
- They are planning to build on land that Florida Forever simultaneously is trying to acquire to complete the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve (actually designated as an “essential parcel” for future conservation land acquisition. This land is desired because it provides a necessary corridor to the Preserve and protects the watershed of the Creek. Losing this piece of land will surely hurt the investment the state and tax-payers have already made during the original acquisition which started the Preserve. For less than 10% of the project cost, they could acquire the desired land, and spend the rest on other projects.
- Traffic experts have determined that this project is unneeded, and even the FDOT itself has said the limited benefit (at the huge expense of this rural area) will be at most 8-13% for neighboring cities’ traffic over 25 years (which is likely statistically insignificant).
- If built, this project will directly destroy 50+ acres of wetlands near an outstanding Florida Waterway (Spruce Creek) that is impaired for nutrients, thus harming the species that live there (like manatees and scrub jays).
- During the most recent public comment period (2020), FDOT received over 375 comments in opposition, whereas only 49 in favor. Yet the FDOT proceeded.
- In just the last few months, the FDOT has secretly added three new and unrelated parts to the project, including two new developer road stubouts and a roundabout (right picture below). These parts were never presented at a public meeting (despite them having several over the last four years), and also should be illegal because they are essentially building infrastructure in a CDD which the CDD promised to build itself.
Thank you for your consideration. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I trust you will do what you can to prevent this project from proceeding,
Save Don’t Pave Spruce Creek