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Hillsborough Commissioners vote 6-1 to approve road-centric $812 million, 10-year transportation plan

Hillsborough County commissioners approved a 10-year, $812 million transportation project focused on improving county roads and bridges.

Times File Photo

Hillsborough County commissioners approved a 10-year, $812 million transportation project focused on improving county roads and bridges.

1

March

TAMPA -- Hillsborough County Commissioners approved a road-centric $812 million, 10-year transportation plan Wednesday despite calls from residents and one of their own for more transit options.

The proposal will pump about $276 million into road and bridge maintenance, $127 million for safety projects and $346 million for congestion relief, such as widening and building new roads and improving traffic flow.

The list of projects represents the largest commitment to transportation by the county in years, and it achieves it without raising taxes. Commissioners voted last year to set aside $600 million from the existing budget to pay for roadwork. The remaining $212 million will come from new fees on developers and other sources.

Nevertheless, residents lined up to implore commissioners to put more money into the county’s bus system and to find other ways to move people without building more roads. The only transit in the project list are about $750,000 to plan and design a ferry between MacDill Air Force Base and south county and $350,000 for a pilot program that allows residents to request a car ride to bus stops.

Commissioner Pat Kemp joined the criticism of the plan.

“We cannot build our way out of congestion,” Kemp said. “It’s time we make some wise investments."

Kemp proposed eliminating several of the projects, including a $97 million widening of Lithia Pinecrest Road. Instead, she wanted to use the money to fast track the ferry, expand the car service pilot program and to pump money into a Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority program that provides vans for people who want to carpool.

But other commissioners were content to move forward and continue working to find other ways to pay for transit. It passed 6-1, with Kemp as the lone dissent.

“We’ve got to find a dedicated funding source to support transit funding,” Murman said. “Not a band aid approach."

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 12:55pm]

    

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