By Brian Bokor

On November 5, the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) presented the 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) for Hillsborough County, which provides a detailed overview of investment plans for funding local transportation options.

The MPO is made up of local elected and appointed officials and acts as a forum to build a consensus between the public and stakeholders that own, operate and maintain transportation infrastructure with five of our seven current BOCC members on the governing board.

Transportation projects can be funded through a variety of sources that use federal, state and local dollars, or any combination of the three. After assessing available funds, eligibility requirements, funding scenarios and the region’s transportation needs, the MPO determined the cost feasibility of prospective projects (i.e., what we can afford and when) and matched it to the community’s goals.

Several projects have already been approved and funded through 2025 (First Five Years), with many other projects selected for funding over the next two decades and/or are considered a high priority for dollars that have been set aside (Cost Feasible 2025-2045).

Below is a brief summary of projects already approved that will have significant impact on our communities (First Five Years). Eighteen of the 27 major projects will benefit Eastern or Southern Hillsborough County, which represents 63 percent of the total funding of over $1.1B with project T-27 (the widening of Lithia Pinecrest Rd. from Lumsden Rd. to Fishhawk Blvd.) representing the single most expensive project over the next five years at $183M.

Also of interest would be T-3/T-20 (Big Bend Rd. improvements), T-16 (improvements to Bloomingdale Ave./the US 301 intersection) and T-7 (extension of Balm Rd./Paseo Al Mar Ave. from US 301 to US 41 utilizing a flyover of I75), as well as the Bell Shoals Rd. widening project (T-21) already underway.

The Selmon Expressway (T-17/T-18) will be getting two additional lanes added (one in each direction) from the I-4 connector to I-75. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. will be widened from Kingsway Rd. to McIntosh Rd. (T-1), and there will be improvements to the I-75/I-4 intersection (T-4). In the Progress Village area, Madison Ave. will be improved, with lanes added from 78th St. to US 41.

For information for the complete presentation, please visit the website at www.planhillsborough.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/HillsboroughMPO-LRTP2045-New-PublicHearingDraft-102919.pdf.

For more information, contact Beth Alden, AICP, MPO Executive Director at 273-3774 x318 or aldenb@plancom.org.