What Concerns Drive You?
Please use the comments section at the bottom of this blog to ask your question.
When we surveyed the audience after the 2021 Conservation Summit about future topics for Conversations About Conservation, several of you said this:
“Transportation and how it relates to conservation. Proposed new Marion County Roads. 75 Interchange North of 27.”
And that makes sense, because in last year’s Quality of Life Survey, you rated Transportation and Traffic second only to Preservation of Natural Resources as a topic of concern.
So at this year’s Conversations About Conservation Summit to be held on November 14th at Ocala Breeder’s Sales, we’re bringing you the two people most qualified to address that very topic. Keynote Speaker, Secretary Jared Perdue of the Florida Department of Transportation has the big picture of Florida’s transportation needs and challenges in hand. He was appointed by Governor DeSantis in April to lead the Department. Perdue has served at FDOT for 18 years, most recently as District Five Secretary where he was responsible for leading and developing a workforce of nearly 600 employees and managing an annual budget of nearly $1 billion. As District Five Secretary, Perdue led the completion of the I-4 Ultimate Project, FDOT’s largest project to date. He also oversaw the Wekiva Parkway project, a model transportation project for environmental conservation.
Secretary Perdue lending a hand with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Source: FDOT.
And there is nobody more qualified to speak about the granular details of Marion County’s 42 ongoing road projects than our Guest Speaker, Marion County’s own Tracy Straub, Assistant Administrator of Public Works and Growth Services. Straub oversees the Office of the County Engineer, which consists of the Road Maintenance, Stormwater, Transportation Design, and Traffic Management sections. She is also responsible for the Growth Services department and its sections; Planning and Zoning and Code Enforcement. Straub’s duties also include the departments of Building Safety, Community Services, MSTU/Assessment, and Tourist Development. As an Ocala native and fifth-generation Marion County Floridian, Straub takes great pride in her community and helping to shape its public infrastructure while preserving the beauty and environment of her home.
We’re excited to bring you two deeply experienced transportation leaders with demonstrated care and concern for environmental impacts in Marion County and our state as a whole. They will both answer a few moderated questions as part of our program on the 14th. But since our Program is just 1-1/2 hours long, we only have time for a few questions to each speaker, selected beforehand. We want to hear from you! Please use the comments section at the bottom of this blog to ask your question. We will compile the questions and look for common threads to present to our speakers. We will also forward all constructive questions to the speakers for their own edification.
So please, let those questions fly – we will post all constructive questions to this blog so we can all learn from each other. Let the conversation begin! And thanks.
The Marion County Quality of Life Survey
While Horse Farms Forever was the catalyst for the Survey, we were honored to collaborate with five sponsors who represent the business and non-profit community in Marion County: Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership, College of Central Florida, Ocala Horse Properties, Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association and Hotel Development and Management Group.
The Matrix Group, an independent insights and consulting firm based in Lexington, Kentucky, administered, processed and tabulated responses. Working closely with our partners, we sought to ask the questions that are on the minds of Marion County’s residents.
Let’s Talk Transportation
Monday, November 14
11am to 1:30pm
FREE and Open to the Public
at Ocala Breeder’s Sales
Live stream begins at 12 Noon
Is any consideration being given to widening Interstate 75 in Marion County?
For the past years we have contacted FLDOT concerning the traffic exiting I75, to NW 77th Street, and then to North 441. This area is actually an extension of I75 filled with massive, out of control tractor trailer, and out of state cars speeding dangerously and driving with total disregard. Locals cannot get out of their neighborhoods and must sit for extensive periods of time to do so or take a risk and pull out and just hope you don’t get hit. Traffic is often backed up from the light at N441/NW 77th Street for hours. We need traffic lights on N 441 to stop and slow down the traffic. DOT told us they must get the traffic through therefore no lights. The traffic will never get through because there is so much of it. Lights are needed in specific locations such as Irish Acres/Neighborhood across from Irish Acre and also one at the dump. There areas are dangerous as when exiting these neighborhoods/streets one cannot see the oncoming traffic due to hills and it is traveling so fast once you pull out, you can get hit. In addition, the horrid noises the tractor trailers produce when slowing down/hitting brakes is horrendous. The real solution is take the traffic off N 441 and return it to I75. It has taken a beautiful area of Marion County horse country and turned it into DEATH HIGHWAY.
Some questions I have that are important to those I speak to:
Is there a commitment to keeping the Farmland Preservation Area Rural and not overwhelmed with highways,toll roads, commercial building?
Is there a commitment to improve existing roads without over expanding them?
Is there a commitment to bringing in better internet and phone service?
Is there a commitment to lower drug crimes in Marion County?
Is there a commitment to improving the educational system in Marion county while maintaining. an emphasis on on Reading/Grammar/Writing/History/Civics/Arithmetic/science/Languages, religious freedom/parental rights /as well as keeping an America First focus?
I had said to my husband approximately 10 years ago, that I was concerned with Marion County because I could see Ocala changing, and the town starting to look like Orlando, regarding the increase in traffic, trash all over the streets, and all the gas stations on every corner. We live in this beautiful farm/horse community…Why can’t Ocala keep to a “country, horse farm” theme? Other places have stuck by keeping their towns looking authentic with keeping true to their history. If this town could be reconfigured streetwise, for all the traffic, it would be easier to keep our wonderful town Horse Country!
the area is getting WAY too crowded. I specifically bought here in 2006 and not wellington because i liked the quiet and country style life. Now thanks to roberts we are getting as bad as wellington and it is very upsetting. I will be looking for another farm outside of this county because i just cannot stand the traffic and the horrific drivers and noise. so dissapponting.
When it comes through my back yard I am not happy. When it destroys farmland and wildlife habitat I am not happy. When overdevelopment runs unchecked we all lose.
Is there any reason there has to be another toll road cutting across numerous sensitive natural areas, such as the Rainbow River springs shed, to connect the turnpike to the Nature Coast when we already have little used US 27? Why must we build roads to invite over-population rather than preserve our natural environment?