Southwest-Central Florida Connector will help rural Florida

Albritton

During Florida’s upcoming 2020 legislative session, I’m sure there will be a lot of talk about Florida’s plan for three new roads. One of the roads in the plan, the Southwest-Central Florida Connector, would be in our local area—DeSoto, Polk, Highlands and Charlotte counties.

I believe this plan, especially the Southwest-Central Florida Connector, is the best thing to happen to rural Florida and our community, as it will strike the right balance between the need to grow our local economy and the need to protect Florida’s Heartland. 

The Southwest-Central Florida Connector will connect us to our neighboring counties, bringing more jobs to our local area, so the Heartland can focus on and grow Florida’s agribusiness in the long-term.

The connector will also make commuting easier, providing more convenient routes for our ranchers to move their livestock and citrus growers to transport their products. It will improve different types of infrastructure such as broadband, water and sewer services, so that our farmers and all our rural neighbors can thrive this day in age. Improved infrastructure will also allow businesses to open and operate in our communities without being chained to urban areas.

The plan will help rural Florida grow economically and become more connected, while still protecting our precious natural resources. The taskforce for the Southwest-Central Florida Connector will study and address our environmental needs, taking wildlife habitat, water quality and other environmental issues into concern. Although we must grow our local economy, we cannot turn our backs on our natural environment, which is part of what makes our community and state so unique.

The Southwest-Central Florida Connector, along with the Suncoast Connector and Northern Turnpike Connector, will also provide more evacuation routes, creating smoother and safer travels for Florida families who need to leave or travel to another part of the state during a natural disaster.

Thank you, Senate president Galvano, for bringing about these three new roads. As a senator in Florida’s Heartland, I see firsthand the challenges Florida’s agriculture community faces. This once-in-a-generation opportunity will allow those living outside of our area a firsthand look of why we consider the Heartland a “Treasure of Old Florida." I know balance is what Florida’s Heartland needs, because we must focus on economic development, but cannot do so at the cost of our environment.

Florida Sen. Ben Albritton represents District 26, which includes DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee counties, and parts of Charlotte, Lee and Polk counties.

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