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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Where is the infrastructure?

To the Editor:

Over the past five years, Ocala and the rest of Marion County have clearly fallen into the hands of the developers. While growth seems inevitable, the unrestricted growth we’re now seeing has the consequences of crowded roadways, overcrowded schools, and less safety.

What we really need is a moratorium on development until we can catch up with infrastructure, which should have been in place prior to development. Aside from expanding water and sewer service so that damaging wells and septic systems are curtailed, we need an effective bus and rail system to alleviate traffic congestion and the daily deadly crashes in our area.

Roadways need to be expanded, like adding lanes to SR 200 to Inverness and expanding access to schools and shopping. Many of our other two-lane roads need to become four-lane roads.

I-75 between Ocala and Gainesville is a death trap, resulting in long traffic jams that pollute our air, which the clearing of land doesn’t help alleviate. Carpool lanes and commuter rail and bus services are needed. This is a question not only of convenience, but of lifesaving health and safety.

Most of all, if the county commissioners wish to keep their jobs and not be voted out, they need to assess developers for more schools. They approve thousands of more housing units without planning for more schools. This is insane and is forcing parents to leave the workforce to homeschool.

Anyone know the dropout rate in Marion Schools? The overcrowding at Liberty Middle School has already had dire consequences. People wait three hours in the car pickup line at Hammett Bowen Elementary. West Port High School will not be able to safely sustain its growing population. One new elementary school along the SW 49th Avenue extension is too little, too late. People moving to the area have middle school- and high school-age children too.

Where is the federal infrastructure money going? There should be no new housing without the necessary infrastructure to sustain it.

Wake up, county commissioners!

David Kruchkow
Ocala resident