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Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Traffic Jam Charlie or Governor Gridlock?

That’s what the Governor will be called if he fails to veto the growth management bill, according to a state newspaper and growth management supporters.

The heat is being turned up on Governor Crist to veto a bill that would, according to the sources, make radical changes to the state’s growth management programs.  According to the Orlando Sentinel political blog, the Florida Association of Counties recently sent a letter to Crist outlining the reasons why he should veto the bill.

The bill, SB 360, is a dramatic departure from the growth management reform lawmakers passed in the midst of boom times back in 2005. Instead of strengthening transportation “concurrency,” the bill repeals it throughout most of the state, along with getting rid of other regulations on large-scale developments.

“If implemented, this bill will have a far reaching impact on our state, affecting not only the quality of life of its citizens but also its economy, creating conditions unfavorable to new and existing businesses,” wrote FAC Chairman Rodney Long, an Alachua County commissioner, to Crist Friday.

“Eliminating transportation concurrency will lead to Florida’s residents and businesses actually suffering in the long run,” he added. “Communities that have transportation deficiencies, poor access, and excessive commute times are ones that business rarely looks to when starting new or expand existing businesses.  Given the existing transportation backlog of our state – estimated between $20 – $30 billion – the (transportation exemption areas) statewide will only worsen our state’s transportation network.

“As proposed under the bill, road capacity no longer has to be in place or even planned for development to proceed. The result: congested areas will simply become gridlocked, and the countless businesses that rely on an efficient transportation system will experience extensive delays that will have immeasurable financial impacts.”

Read the county association’s entire veto letter here.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, a real estate developer who has been quoted in the past as saying he expects Crist to sign the bill.  But when the counties’ association weighs in opposing the bill, I wonder how sure of that Bennett can be. 

Btw, only two of the Duval Delegation members voted “no” to the growth management bill on the floor – Audrey Gison and Mia Jones.

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Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, , ,

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