By Tamas Mondovics

During its regularly scheduled meeting early February, Hillsborough County Board of County Commission approved a plan to accelerate delivery of its recently enacted policy that dedicated $600 million towards countywide transportation infrastructure improvements within the next 10 year years.

 “We have taken a critical first step prioritizing and funding our immediate transportation needs in Hillsborough County,” said County Commissioner Sandra Murman. “I’m pleased with what we did here in making sure we start these projects in the first few years, rather than later in the process.”

 According to County officials, the $600 million transportation plan, which will also see an additional estimated $100 million in mobility fees, is a commitment to right-of-way maintenance, road resurfacing, bridge repairs and sidewalk repairs, and includes an accelerated delivery of 51 signal/intersection improvements, roadway improvements around schools, filling in sidewalk gaps and adding sidewalks near schools.

The approved plan now promises the fast tracking of some of the more troublesome congestion relief projects such as Lithia Pinecrest Rd. as well as other road-widening projects like Big Bend and Bell Shoals Rds.

While, supporters of a future Lithia Pinecrest Rd. widening project claim better traffic flow, safer roads and improved quality of life, opponents disagree, pointing to the exact opposite outcome for residents and motorists.

David Wilson, Chairman of the Metropolitan Planning Organization Citizen’s Advisory Committee (MPO CAC), which provides input and recommendations to the MPO Board, weighed in on the issue mentioning that in October 2016, the County completed a study on the expansion of Lithia Pinecrest Rd. “The main issue is the acquisition of right away to complete the project,” Wilson said adding that there is no immediate dates for Lithia Pinecrest Rd. widening efforts.

As the Chairman of the MPO CAC, Wilson adds, “I want to help increase the community’s voice by engaging them directly through meetings and social media. I do have a particular interest in making sure our most vulnerable are able to maneuver through our system. Our elderly, disabled, and safety of children is something I watch extremely closely.”

For more information about Hillsborough County projects please visit, www.HCFLGov.net.