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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Todd sees hope for bridge in Obama stimulus



Former Pinellas County Commissioner Barbara Sheen Todd thinks there might be money in President-elect Obama's promised economic stimulus package to save the Friendship Trail Bridge.

The pedestrian link between St. Petersburg and Tampa was closed to the public in early November after engineers discovered structural failures.

Todd is a member of an advisory body to the federal Environmental Protection Agency. At a recent meeting in Boston, Todd said she learned from EPA officials that as part of Obama's stimulus package, federal money will be available for infrastructure projects that have environmental benefits.

Local officials are awaiting a price tag for repairs to the Friendship Trail, but have expressed doubt that money will be available for the fixes needed to make the span safe again for public use.

Todd said the federal government could look favorably on allocating money for such a project because the Friendship Trail gets cars off the road and promotes regional cooperation.

She made her remarks at today's Pinellas County Commission meeting, where she urged board members to clarify the cost of repairs and to aggressively lobby local members of Congress for their support.

"Make this a priority," Todd told the commission. "I believe we have a strong opportunity."

Will Van Sant, Times Staff Writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:41am]


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