Letters to the Editor

A toll is the least they could pay

Being scolded and threatened by individuals visiting the Florida Keys with their large vehicles and trailers, as they create traffic jams and dangerous driving conditions for the citizens that live here; because we've asked our county commissioners to decrease their destructive impact, via the creation of a toll road for entry onto our islands, identifies a certain type of contempt and indifference for the safety and basic needs of Monroe County residents.

Intrusions from the vehicular invasion that's upon us, has resulted in increased deaths, injuries and property damage. The regular stream of litter and pollutants deposited by visitors on our roads and waterways has reached epidemic proportions. Civic-minded citizens living here have been forced to routinely pick up extensive fields of debris strewn along our shorelines and roadways by reckless visitors to our islands.

The quality of life we sought via the monetary investments we made when purchasing our homes are being eroded and destroyed by unrestricted and excessive travel congestion, which has intruded every facet of our lives.

Reasonable and responsible leadership from those in positions of governance requires immediate action to be taken that will maintain our infrastructure and protect our reefs, while safeguarding our waterways and fragile aquatic ecosystem so that the people who live here are not ruined and crippled by this toxic onslaught. Coalescing with the forces that are destroying our neighborhoods and communities identifies a particular type of callousness not usually exhibited by democratically elected officials, entrusted to represent the best interests of their constituents.

Another headline addressing the barbaric conduct of mainland visitors from South Florida who've graced us with their presence: "Men hog-tie 3 endangered Key deer, put one in the trunk."

Along with chronic "resource violators" regularly coming down to the Keys to poach and kill undersized and endangered sea life, there are the innocuous day trippers tossing their lighted cigarette butts, dirty diapers and fast food wrappers from moving vehicles.

I pay many tolls going and coming from the Miami VA, every time I'm treated for my combat wounds. Vacationers can pay a toll to offset the infrastructure and environmental expenses, necessary to maintain the services they enjoy on our islands.

John Donnelly, Key Largo