Sustainable Property Rights
In May 2019, the Florida Legislature adopted legislation, approved by the Governor, that created a Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program. Such legislation is now codified as Sec. 338.2278, Florida Statutes.
The program’s purpose is to revitalize rural communities, encourage job creation, and provide regional connectivity while leveraging technology, enhancing quality of life and public safety, and protecting the environment and natural resources. The programs will accomplish such purpose through advancing the construction of corridors that are intended to accommodate multiple modes of transportation and multiple types of infrastructure.
The program is also referred to as “Florida’s M●Cores Program.” These “super-corridors” will reserve right-of-way for limited access tollways, utilities, recreation, and environmental conservation-type uses. The program will fast-track project design and engineering studies and prioritize the appropriation of funds from other public infrastructure projects for the next two decades. Three separate corridors make up Florida’s M●Cores Program: the Suncoast Connector, the Northern Turnpike Connector, and the Southwest-Central Florida Connector.
Florida’s M●Cores Program will assist to dramatically shape Florida with three new limited-access tollways in portions of the state that historically have been more rural in character. Change is here; a transition is underway. The corridors, along with other market forces at work including Florida’s continual population growth, will work to shape and define the use and value of Florida real estate. As the state government, headed by the Florida Department of Transportation, and other stakeholders, local county and city governments, water management districts, environmental public interest groups like 1,000 Friends of Florida, Audubon Florida, and The Nature Conservancy, and non-profit organizations like Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Economic Development Council, and Florida Farm Bureau, form three separate task forces, the corridor-siting process is underway.
While those serving on these respective task forces will be advocating for sustainable transportation, economic, and environmental concerns for Florida’s future from a broad, publicly-minded perspective, those whose private property will be needed to accomplish such public good are typically unrepresented in the process which will establish the location of the corridor. Although the meetings of these task forces are open to the public, a property owner’s individual, privately-minded perspective resides in an extreme minority.
Most owners take for granted their civil right of private property ownership until its is their property that is needed for the public good. For those who may find their private property is located within potential right-of-way corridors for the Suncoast Connector, the Northern Turnpike Connector, and the Southwest-Central Florida Connector, due diligence will be necessary to assure that they will have “Sustainable Property Rights.”
Neither state nor local government in Florida has, in its provision for public infrastructure, ever acquired corridors of this kind and scope with respect to the width of right-of-way and the multiple uses to which property will be put. For some private property owners, the transition in use and value resulting from these M●Core Projects along with other market forces at work may result in an increase in the use and value of their own individual properties. For others, the resulting impacts from the project may be devastating.
In addition to tracking the progress of the respective tasks forces for the M●Core Projects, this website purposes to provide examples of how other property and business owners in Florida fared when protecting their private property rights when subject to public right-of-way acquisition for new or expanded lineal corridors. While the government is using its power to better the general welfare and advance the public good, private property owners need to exercise a determined vigilance when protecting their individual constitutional rights of private ownership. It is ultimately the protection of such civil rights which properly serves to “check and balance” the government’s use of power.