Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Published April 23 2018
Updated April 23 2018

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader says

When I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could say nothing to refute their claims.

Thatís the way power and wealth works.

So hereís some facts from the Save Our Serenova Coalition for why stopping the Ridge Road Extension was a good idea in 1998 and a better idea in 2018:

Commissioners claim we desperately need more hurricane evacuation routes for the mother of all hurricanes. Fact: On Sept. 17, 2017, Pasco County issued evacuation orders for everyone west of Little Road as a Category 3 hurricane approached. What happened? We had west-to-east evacuation road lanes that accommodated all the cars and people who chose to evacuate what we expected to be the worst hurricane to hit Pasco County.

What we lacked was not hurricane evacuation routes, but more shelters.

The fact that Hurricane Irma became a Category 1 storm before it rolled over Pasco County does not change the fact: Tens of thousands safely evacuated without traffic bottlenecks and were gone by that time. There goes the political huckstersí excuse for destroying 6,500 acres of Serenova habitat for wetlands, wildlife and native plants by slicing it with a four-line highway called the Ridge Road Extension.

Pasco citizens have paid about $34 million since 1998 for this zombie highway to nowhere. And if Trump and Gus have their way, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will finally approve the long-contested permit and the price tag for the highway will total of $89,970,668, according to the Pasco Project Fact Sheet revised on March 26.

If you believe that figure, I got a bridge in Brooklyn Iíll sell you cheap.

So why not spend that money on real evacuation routes like State Routes 54 and 52, and Moon Lake Road, Tower Road and Lake Patience Road for less money? Because none of those "evacuation routes" will create welcoming entrance roads for developments like Connerton, which blames its failure on a lack of such roads. See, itís simple ó itís never been about evacuation, itís about enriching developers, real estate firms, construction companies, and oh, yes. Pasco County Commissioners. Just check the campaign donations to the two commissioners running for re-election.

Dan Callaghan, New Port Richey