Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco urged to commit to growth areas with mass transit goal

SHADY HILLS — If Pasco County development were a sandwich filling, it would be peanut butter. Spreadable, but too much gums up the works.

That's how top planners described the sprawl that has historically been Pasco's pattern of growth. And they want to stop it.

"We need to stop the peanut butter," growth management administrator Richard Gehring told county commissioners at a workshop on Tuesday. "We need to grow inward and upward."

To that end, county planners are working to put in place recommendations from a nine-member panel of the Urban Land Institute, an association of real estate interests that interviewed 100 local public and private-sector representatives last year to help Pasco determine growth patterns for the next 20 years, with the ultimate goal of attracting high-wage jobs.

Among its recommendations: that Pasco create land development standards catering to the needs of five market areas, such as a central county region distinct from the southern corridor running across State Road 54.

Planners want to concentrate denser development in two of the five areas: the U.S. 19 corridor and the SR 54/56 corridor.

The goal is to make those areas attractive to mass transit such as express buses and light rail.

The master plan for the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority includes a rail line originating from the Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel to points south, with express buses on U.S. 19 and the SR 54 corridor. County Commissioner Michael Cox, who is chairman of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, is an advocate of adding rail to the 54 corridor.

Gehring told commissioners they need to be committed if they want mass transit, and that includes finding local funding sources.

Legislation now allows counties with charter government such as Hillsborough and Pinellas to seek voter approval for a 1-cent surtax for mass transit. Pasco, which is not a charter county, would need approval from the Legislature to do the same. The goal is to allow all counties under the TBARTA umbrella to have that ability. If approved, such a tax would not take effect until 2020, Gehring said.

A local tax also would make the area more likely to receive money from the federal government, which requires such a commitment before it's willing to dole out grants.

Members of Pasco's staff and its MPO will join their counterparts in Hillsborough to travel to Charlotte, N.C., on Friday for a daylong tour of its rail system, which is now about 2 years old.

"If Tampa and Hillsborough take steps and we want rail to be able to come up here, we need to take a step with them," Gehring said.

Lisa Buie can be reached at buie@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4604.

Pasco urged to commit to growth areas with mass transit goal 10/13/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 7:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  2. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  3. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  4. South Korea military: North Korea fires unidentified projectile

    World

    SEOUL — North Korea launched a ballistic missile early today that flew 280 miles and landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, the South Korean military and the Japanese government said.

    S. Korean President Moon Jae-in is assessing the launch.
  5. Rays blow lead, rally, blow lead, rally again to beat Twins in 15 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays sure made it interesting Sunday, taking an early lead, watching their beleaguered bullpen blow it, rallying to tie in the ninth, battling the Twins to take a lead in the 14th then giving it up again.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 28: Evan Longoria #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates scoring a run against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on May 28, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010990