Stop the Roadblocks for New Roads

Advocacy & Policy ,

Stop the roadblocks for new roads 

By: Joshua Goergen, MBA

There is no question that Southwest Florida is growing at an unprecedented rate. Thanks to our elected officials, community leaders, and the business community, our region has become of the top choices for families and new businesses to relocate to. Not only do we see warm weather year-round, but we also promote a business-friendly climate that will only continue to bring new businesses both small and large.

With all this growth in addition to our seasonal residents, Southwest Florida is already seeing our roads fill up. While no one enjoys construction on our roadways, it is necessary as the region prepares for the future and influx of new permanent residents. However, we see frequently that when a jurisdiction or local government proposes a new plan for new road construction or improvement, a small but loud group of citizens complain about traffic congestion, dump trucks, and road work. They go to public comment and make noise, demonstrating their lack of support for the project without understanding the long-term solution it’s attempting to solve. From there, projects are all too often removed from consideration or postponed for further evaluation because of the uproar.  

Here is the problem with all of that: the same group of people complaining about construction on the road are the same people complaining about how much Southwest Florida is growing and how travel times are getting worse because of congestion. We can’t have it both ways. At some point, if traffic congestion becomes so bad, property values can be affected. Why would anyone want to live in an area where it takes them a half hour to go three or four miles down the road? 

As citizens, we need to start being more vocal and supportive of infrastructure projects. For Southwest Florida to continue to offer its world-renowned quality of life and business friendly climate, we need to continue to build and prepare our infrastructure for a projected million residents in Southwest Florida. Although building new roads takes funding, time, and maybe even a temporary headache, they are critical to the economic success of this region. Next time you’re stuck in construction traffic, think about how bad it could be if we waited another five years to start working on that same road and added thousands of drivers. 

If you have any questions or want to show your support, please do not hesitate to contact me, Josh Goergen, SWFL Inc.’s Government Relations Manager, at [email protected]. For more information on SWFL Inc.’s 2022 legislative priorities, visit SWFLinc.com/economic-development.