The Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force is commissioned to evaluate the Northern Turnpike Connector corridor, which extends from Collier County to Polk County. The task force will work in coordination with the Florida Department of Transportation to address the need for the corridor and its potential economic and environmental impacts. As the work of the task force progresses, the location of the right-of-way corridor will be determined as well as the location of public infrastructure such as interchanges, stormwater ponds, and other ancillary highway improvements.

The task force may consider and recommend innovative ways to combine right-of-way acquisition with the acquisition of lands or easements to facilitate environmental mitigation or ecosystem, wildlife habitat or water quality protection or restoration. The task force will specificallyaddress the impacts of construction on panther and other critical wildlife habitat. It will also evaluate wildlife crossing design features.

The task force will summarize the results of its analysis in a final report by October 1, 2020.

Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force

No. State Agencies/Commissions/Partnerships Member Name/Title
1 Florida Department of Transportation L.K. Nandam, District One Secretary
2 Florida Department of Transportation Tracy A. Hood, District Seven Consultant Project Management Engineer
3 Florida Department of Environmental Protection Jennifer Carpenter, South District Assistant Director
4 Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Pam Johnson, Deputy Director of Workforce Services
5 Florida Department of Education Robert Richards, Supervisor, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
6 Florida Department of Health Stephanie Vick, Administrator, Collier County
7 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Tom Graef, Southwest Regional Director
8 Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Janet Taylor, Former Commissioner, Hendry County
9 Florida Public Service Commission Mark Futrell, Deputy Executive Director – Technical
10 Enterprise Florida Tim Vanderhoof, Senior Vice President of Business Development
11 Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Tim McGrath, Field Office Manager – Central Florida
12 CareerSource Florida Donna Doubleday, President and CEO of CareerSource Heartland
13 Volunteer Florida Rechell Johnson, Financial Analyst
No. Water Management Districts Member Name/Title
14 South Florida WMD Melissa M. Roberts, Regulatory Service Center Administrator
15 Southwest Florida WMD Brian Starford, Operations, Lands and Resource Monitoring Division Director
No. Metropolitan Planning Organizations Member Name/Title
16 Collier MPO Reg Buxton, Chair Council Member, Naples City Council
17 Lee County MPO Donald Scott, Executive Director
18 Charlotte County-Punta Gorda MPO The Hon. Chris Constance, Chair
Commissioner, Charlotte County Board of County Commissioners
19 Heartland Regional TPO The Hon. Colon Lambert, Board Member
Commissioner, Hardee County Board of County Commissioners
20 Polk TPO The Hon. Nat Birdsong, Chair
Mayor Pro-Tem, City of Winter Haven
No. Regional Planning Councils Member Name/Title
21 Southwest Florida RPC The Hon. Bill McDaniel, Board Member
Chair, Collier County Board of County Commissioners
22 Central Florida RPC Patricia Steed, Executive Director
No. Community Individual or Member of a Nonprofit Organization Member Name/Title
23 Florida Chamber of Commerce Katie Worthington Decker, President / CEO, Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce
24 Florida Trucking Association Keith Walpole, CEO, Walpole, Inc.
25 Florida Rural Water Association Gerald Buhr, Attorney
26 Florida Internet & Television Association Bill Ferry, Senior Director of External Affairs – Florida Region, Comcast
27 Florida Economic Development Council Sherry Ambrose, Manager of Economic Development, Florida Power & Light Company
28 Florida Farm Bureau Federation Gary Ritter, Assistant Director of Government & Community Affairs
29 Florida SouthWestern State College Dr. Jeff Allbritten, President
30 South Florida State College Glenn Little, Vice President for Administrative Services
31 Polk State College Dr. Angela M. Garcia Falconetti, President
32 Maxwell, Hendry & Simmons, LLC Matt Caldwell, Associate
No. Environmental Groups Member Name/Title
33 1000 Friends of Florida Andrew Dickman, Board of Directors
34 Audubon Florida Dr. Paul Gray, Okeechobee Science Coordinator
35 Defenders of Wildlife Elizabeth Fleming, Senior Florida Representative
36 The Everglades Foundation Shannon Estenoz, Chief Operating Officer
37 Florida Wildlife Corridor Jason Lauritsen, Executive Director
38 The Nature Conservancy Wendy Mathews, Conservation Projects Manager
No. Local Government Officials Member Name/Title
39 Local governments in Collier County Hon. Penny Taylor, Commissioner, Collier County Board of County Commissioners
40 Local governments in Lee County The Hon. Cecil Pendergrass, Commissioner, Lee County Board of County Commissioners
41 Local governments in Charlotte County The Hon. Ken Doherty, Chair, Charlotte County Board of County Commissioners
42 Local governments in Hendry County The Hon. Mitchell Wills, Chair, Hendry County Board of County Commissioners
43 Local governments in Glades County The Hon. Weston Pryor, Commissioner, Glades County Board of County Commissioners
44 Local governments in DeSoto County The Hon. Elton Langford, Commissioner, DeSoto County Board of County Commissioners
45 Local governments in Hardee County The Hon. Mike Thompson, Chair, Hardee County Board of County Commissioners
46 Local governments in Highlands County The Hon. Ron Handley, Commissioner, Highlands County Board of County Commissioners
47 Local governments in Polk County The Hon. Rick Wilson, Commissioner, Polk County Board of County Commissioners

The Southwest-Central Florida Connector Task Force has recently published a draft Avoidance Map which is a first step to narrowing the focus of the study corridor.

Southwest-Central Florida Connector
Task Force Schedule