Referendum funding may not include widening Lithia -Pinecrest Road

09/01/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

Today two citizens came before the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), urging them not to include a plan to widen two-lane Lithia-Pinecrest Road to six lanes from State Road 60 to Country Road 39 in a possible referendum that would go before Hillsborough County voters next year.

The Hillsborough County Transporation Task Force has publicly said that if a 1 cent sales referendum is approved by voters next year, 25% of those proceeds will go to road projects.

In the past, County planners have argued that it was important to approve the road-lengthening to attract federal funds. Now, according to environmental activist Kelly Cornelius, the County wants federal money and local taxpayer funds to approve the controversial re-widening of the road.

Citizen Lauren O’Grady presented MPO members with a petition signed by 250 residents arguing against the widening of Lithia-Pinecrest Road.

Ray Chiramonte, Executive Director of the MPO, said that the County’s Transportation Task Force on Monday turned in a revised list of projects that they would like to be considered if the 1 cent referendum passes next year, and says the widening of Lithia –Pinecrest Road isn’t in the new plans.

But Tampa City Councilman Thomas Scott reminded Chiramonte and the rest of the MPO that the Task Force’s recommendations are just that, and that the Board of County Commissioners will have the last say on the matter.

It was also revealed yesterday that if Hillsborough voters approve the 1 cent sales tax increase for light rail, it would cost an average family $142 annually and a single person $85.

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