Toll road plan still can be defeated
Pasco commissioners had a golden opportunity last week to drive another nail into the coffin of the State Road 54/56 elevated toll road idea, but failed.
In July 2013, the board approved spending $218,785 for a SR 54/56 managed lane (toll road) feasibility study from URS Corporation. URS did not meet its deadline and last week county staff asked the board for an extension to Dec. 31. The agenda item (C26) was grouped in with more than 30 other consent agenda items and all were approved by a unanimous vote. Several PascoFiasco.com board members were there to voice their opposition and urge the commissioners to deny the extension request, but their voices fell on deaf ears.
It means that Pasco County has not given up on the idea of an elevated toll road for SR 54/56. It is still in the Long Range Transportation Plan. Many Pasco County residents mistakenly believed that when the state Department of Transportation rejected the unsolicited bid, earlier this month, for a privately funded toll road, that any idea of an elevated toll road was dead. That simply is not true.
Residents must continue writing or emailing their opposition to the county commissioners and they should complete the 2014 citizen survey, which ends Saturday. Also, complete the Pasco County MPO Mobility 2040 Transportation Plan Survey. Both of these surveys contain specific questions about the elevated toll road. This plan can be defeated, but it will take Pasco residents voicing their overwhelming opposition to get it done.
Gary Anderson, Odessa