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Pasco letters: Toll road has more questions than answers

Re: Elevated toll road

Expressway looks more like monster

I have read the studies by the Florida Department of Transportation, TBARTA, the Pasco County MPO and planning/growth management staff along with the proposal of the consortium that makes up the 54 Express LLC.

A disturbing point within the proposal is the statement that if the project is abandoned the proposer will remove the infrastructure or expect a fair settlement payment from the DOT reflective of fair market value. I guess this is also a first, a prenuptial between the DOT and a road building company. Also at question are the proposer's comments regarding reimbursement from the DOT if the department exercises its rights in the corridor that would have a negative impact on the revenue or operating costs of the new toll facility.

Does this mean that if the corridor needs additional lanes or to connect roads in the corridor over the toll facility that it could be perceived as impacting the toll facility negatively so that the DOT would be required to reimburse it for the perceived negative impact? Striking also is the proposer's comment that "the project may reduce or postpone the need for improvements on other facilities" and thus there needs to be "a full understanding of other road expansions in the area since that may affect the revenue potential of the project."

Are we to glean from this statement that the Ridge Road Extension, Tower Road Extension, improvements to State Road 52 or any other road expansion in Pasco could be postponed or reduced until the 54 Express facility feels secure in its revenue potential? Most businesses I know don't set a limit on their revenue potential so we could be in for a long wait for transportation needs in this county if so.

Why is the project called an elevated highway? The proposer specifically states that "the project will have elevated and at-grade level sections which will include overpasses that cross existing roads owned by federal, state and county authorities." The word elevated is only used once for the U.S. 41/SR 54 intersection and for purposes of crossing the CSX rail line adequately. The only access points mentioned are at the start of the project in New Port Richey, Starkey Boulevard, the Suncoast Parkway, I-75 and access to Meadow Pointe Boulevard. An access at U.S. 41 is being considered.

I visualize a 33-mile stretch of overpasses and crossovers down the corridor right of way. I think a better name for the project would be the "Loch Ness Express" and maybe we should cut off the head of the serpent sooner rather than later.

Sandy Graves, Land O'Lakes

Less frequent, less news?

The newspaper I've read and quoted for the last 18 years has cut the Pasco Times section to twice a week and now has decided that it's down to one day a week. I'm darn mad.

Do we have less news than we did before? We still have public officials acting badly and prostitutes walking along U.S. 19. I want to be kept up to date on what's being done to us on a daily basis. I've noticed no change in my bill for less service.

Thomas Karcher, New Port Richey

Pasco letters: Toll road has more questions than answers 05/08/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 8, 2014 4:47pm]
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