Toll road needed to avoid gridlock
The Sierra Club statement about the elevated toll road creating more sprawl almost seems to be an oxymoron. Not to be critical, but it can be a valid claim that building a road in the middle of nowhere can bring sprawl. But we are talking about building the road where sprawl has happened (or been approved, unfortunately).
But I wonder if the Sierra Club is really more opposed just because this road is an expressway, which in general many environmental groups historically like to oppose. This road is needed. It is being suggested in an area where sprawl already has occurred. The county has made it clear that the State Road 54/56 corridor is a high density area.
I know others have suggested mass transit or managed bus lanes, but the realty is that both are not long-term solutions as private cars are still the best way for many citizens to get about due to where they live and work. Never mind that many mass transit programs require subsidies just to function every year.
I would prefer a non-tolled freeway, but having lived in the Tampa Bay region since 1983, I have seen two-lane SR 54 at Interstate 75 grow from a rural area that had stop signs at the off ramps to a multilane major highway. The need for an east-west expressway is there now.
The Florida Department of Transportation is trying not to have an east west version of U.S. 19 in Pinellas County. Arterial roads can only move so much traffic. An expressway moves 2,200 cars per hour per lane and is far safer.
I know many in the Trinity community are opposed to this and I understand the desire to keep things as they are. On the other hand, SR 54 is really the only east-west route there and gridlock is not a long-term solution.
Stephen Donaldson, Dade City
Quit building to end congestion
Regarding the proposed elevated toll road, here's a crazy idea — quit building houses and the road congestion as well as all the other issues that will come up when all the people show up will go away.
The only reason they are coming is because of the thousands of homes that are poised to be built. Don't build them and they won't come. The County Commission has the power to say "no'' to development if it chooses. However, it's clear that the local government officials are seemingly too narrow-minded and short-sighted to realize or possibly even care what it is they're choosing to do.
There are other choices for inducing revenue that will still allow the former land-barons to sell their land. In the meantime, for this resident of Trinity, all this development disgusts me and makes me sadly look forward to the day when I can afford to move.
Larry Richards, Trinity