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Extra $30 million from Penny for Pasco tax could fund 20 new transportation projects

Pasco officials may put 20 new transportation projects on next year's to-do list, thanks to an extra $30 million available from Penny for Pasco sales tax proceeds.

When voters approved the one-cent-on-the-dollar sales tax in 2004, commissioners had anticipated spending $75.5 million of the proceeds on 20 transportation projects.

But those projects are expected to end up costing only about $47 million. That's because construction bids came in low, federal stimulus money covered certain projects and the Florida Department of Transportation picked up costs, according to a memo from county engineer Jim Widman.

On top of those costs savings, officials say the penny tax is on track to generate $769,354 more than they had originally planned. County staff have identified about $25 million worth of roadwork and intersection improvements that could get funding. Commissioners will decide Wednesday whether to improve the new list.

Those projects include:

• Widening and safety improvements on Clinton Avenue ($4.4 million).

• Intersection improvements at Moon Lake Road and State Road 52 ($4 million).

• New left-turn lanes on Little Road at River Crossing Boulevard ($226,000).

• Adding westbound and southbound turn lanes at Little Road and Massachusetts/Decubellis ($2.3 million).

• Rebuilding an unsafe curved intersection at Curley Road and St. Joe Road ($610,000).

Of the original projects approved, 10 are completed, four are under construction, two are in the final stages of right of way acquisition and one is getting undergoing minor design changes.

The penny tax revenue has also gone toward building new schools, preserving land and buying public safety equipment.

Besides additional money for roadwork, there is about $6 million that can be reallocated to new public safety projects.

That's mostly because the construction of two planned fire/rescue stations (one at State Road 52 and Majestic Boulevard and one at State Road 52 and Hays Road) was put off because the county lacks the money to staff and operate the stations.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at jtillman@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6247.

Fast facts

What's next

Commissioners plan to discuss the project list Wednesday at the West Pasco Government Center.

Extra $30 million from Penny for Pasco tax could fund 20 new transportation projects 08/21/10 [Last modified: Saturday, August 21, 2010 1:54pm]
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