Hernando TodayThe double shift: No, we are not talking about a football formation but rather a practice of Hernando County shifting money from one project to another.
Published: June 20, 2008
Published: June 20, 2008
We do not believe this is a good practice for county government.
Major arterials like State Road 50 are vital to the economic viability of our community because it is one of a few state roads that runs from coast to coast.
A well thought out plan with funding opportunities should be the hallmark of our county's Capital Improvement's Plan.
Being able to leverage money from the Florida Department of Transportation in tight economic times is something to work toward. FDOT has programs that make money available if counties participate with money to assist the FDOT.
State Road 50 is slated for construction of six lanes from U.S. 19 to Mariner Boulevard beginning in 2012. The next segment is in the FDOT adopted work program and that is from Mariner Boulevard to Suncoast Parkway for the purchase of right of way.
A great deal of money was taken from developers of Coastal Way Plaza and Cortez Crossing ostensibly to relieve to a crowded and failing level of service on S.R. 50 from Mariner Boulevard to the Suncoast Parkway.
Instead of shifting that money to projects that are miles away and do not relieve the congestion on S.R 50, the county would do better to work with the FDOT to speed up right-of-way acquisition or make frontage road improvements and intersection capacity improvements to help ease the traffic problem.
A much-touted Irving Street connector was planned to do just that to help relieve traffic on S.R 50 and now we hear that project is dead and the money to be spent elsewhere.
It is no wonder that our capital improvement plans never seem to get accomplished when we keep shifting money from project to project and all we accomplish is spending more money due to delays that cause our funds to be eaten up by inflation.
Because S.R. 50 is part of the Strategic Intermodal System, it would serve as an incentive to FDOT to find funds for major capacity improvements.
County administration should take a close look at our capital improvement plans and make sure that they are well thought out and prioritized in a logical manner. Funding sources need to be identified and programmed so as to accomplish our goals and make our plans happen in a timely and efficient manner.
Above all, when money is taken from the development community for a specific purpose, such as relieving congestion on S.R. 50, then that money should be used for its intended purpose.