Citrus County Commissioners had strong words for the Florida Department of Transportation at their meeting Tuesday while debating the proposed Coastal Connector to connect Tampa Bay with the northern part of the state. 

The gist of those words was, "No, thanks."

  • Dozens of residents attended meeting Tuesday
  • Many want to protect natural landscape of area from road construction
  • Commissioners do support Suncoast Parkway expansion to SR-44

Dozens of residents came to the commissioners' meeting Tuesday to speak out against the Coastal Connector. Many stressed they wanted to protect the natural landscape of the area, which is why so many of the residents moved to the area. 

FDOT proposed five routes connecting the Suncoast Parkway to the Ocala area heading eastward through Marion and Citrus Counties.

In response, commissioners unanimously passed a resolution saying they do not approve of any of the Coastal Connector routes proposed, but continue to support the Suncoast Parkway expansion to State Road 44, which has already begun.

(To view a larger version of the FDOT graphic showing the proposed routes, click HERE.)

Bottom line: they say they want to see some more concrete plans for any further northward expansion. 

“It’s time for FDOT, it’s time for the Turnpike Authority, let’s get it right," Commissioner Scott Carnahan said. "Don’t just come out with routes and throw them out here in the public, ok?"

"Because I do think you’re playing a game," he continued. "I think you have a route, I think you know where you want this to go and you’re just trying to get communities to come up with different resolutions to protect you guys.”