Pasco Commission Heads To Tallahassee To Request State Funding

The Pasco County Commission is hoping to get state funds to expand the Port Richey shrimp docks. (Catches Waterfront Grille)

NEW PORT RICHEY, FL — Designing an overpass for Starkey Trail users, creating landscaped gateways at the Pasco County boundaries and designing an underpass at U.S. 19 and the Cotee River are just a few of the items that Pasco County commissioners will discuss with legislators during their annual trip to Tallahassee this week.

Pasco County Commissioners will travel to Tallahassee for Pasco County Legislative Day on Wednesday, March 13 to advocate for Pasco’s 2019 State Legislative Agenda Priorities.

Each year, during the height of the Legislative Session, commissioners and county staff head to Tallahassee to discuss funding for Pasco County projects and update state officials on issues impacting the county.

Pasco County’s wish list this year includes 11 projects with an estimated cost of $89.5 million.

The project with the largest price tag widening the final segment of State Road 52 to four lanes at an estimated cost of $73.9 million. Design for the widening from U.S. 41 to Bellamy Brothers Boulevard has been completed and right of way has been partially funded. Still needed is $9.7 million for the remainder of the right of way acquisition and $64.2 million for construction.

With a price tag of $4 million each, the county also needs funding to build a State Road 54 overpass for the Starkey Trail and U.S. 19 overpass for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The Starkey Trail crossing is intended to provide a safe way for trail pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the busy six-lane SR 54. The Starkey Trail is part of the statewide Coast to Coast trail network. The last unfinished segment known as the Starkey Gap is now under construction and is expected to be completed this summer.

The U.S. 19 overpass at Marine Parkway is intended to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities along the busy 10-lane U..S. 19. It will tie into the Marine Parkway trail now in place on the east side of the Highway and will become a gateway into the city of New Port Richey.

Also on the wish list:

* Gateways Beautification Plan – The county is seeking $3.4 million to design plans for landscape beautification and monument signage at key gateways into Pasco County including the north and south county borders on U.S. 19 (Gulf Coast Highway), and at secondary gateways from U.S. 19 to major road intersections, including State Road 54, Moog Road, Little Road, Embassy Boulevard, Aripeka Road and Hudson Avenue.

It also includes gateways to Land O’ Lakes Boulevard, State Road 52 and U.S. 301 that will incorporate traffic-calming measures, landscaping, monuments, lighting and place-making projects.

* Millers Bayou Working Waterfront Enhancements – Another $3 million is being requested to design plans for an underpass at U.S. 19 and the Pithlachascotee River and to replace shrimp docks in Port Richey at Millers Bayou. The shrimp docks serve the commercial shrimping industry in Pasco County but docking space is limited right now. The county hopes to expand the docks.

* Land O’ Lakes Redevelopment Plan – The county also hopes to secure $1.5 million in funding for the Land O’ Lakes Boulevard corridor so the road better serves through traffic as well as businesses along the corridor.

* Additionally, the county is seeking $700,000 to transform two county-owned buildings into a homeless services center and temporary family housing for the Coalition for the Homeless of Pasco County Inc.

One building will be used to provide temporary residential family housing (Including an on-site management office). The second building will be used as a housing services center and will provide office space for the staff and homeless care partners. The total project is estimated at $1.5 million. The county commission has already committed $680,000 in federal grant funds and the United Way of Pasco County will kick in $100,000 for the project.

To see the full Pasco Board of County Commissioners’ 2019 State Legislative Priorities Agenda, click here.

The 2019 Legislative Session began March 5 and runs through May 3.

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