Transportation plan passes, but is only a "quick fix"

Hillsborough County Commissioners unanimously passed a $600M plan to fix traffic infrastructure over the next 10 years.

A fix is finally on the way to speed up your commute through Hillsborough County. The new plan comes after 6 years of commissioners shutting down one transportation plan after another.

Yet, some community leaders are accusing county leaders of not doing enough to solve a massive problem.

While the new transportation plan won't require you to pay more in taxes, it will only put $600 million over the next 10 years to fixing roads, bridges, sidewalks and intersections. The county needs more than a billion dollars to make “dire” improvements to the roads you rely on to make them safer and less congested.

Commissioner Ken Hagan commented that it is ridiculous how long it took commissioners to make a decision. “I've never served with a board that's more inclined or more willing to kick the can down the road on issues. We've been working on this for years,” he exclaimed at a board meeting Thursday.

County leaders still have to decide how to spend the money, but the plan that passed unanimously Thursday afternoon requires them to make maintenance and safety improvements first.

That means projects to ease congestion or add sidewalks will be on the backburner and transit projects could be off the table completely, unless the commission eventually votes to allocate more money to transportation.

Down the line, you could end up forking more money over to the county to fix dozens of roads.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn urged the commission to do more, “When it comes to transportation in Hillsborough County, we fail. It is our Achilles’ Heel.”

So, what could that mean for all of us in the years ahead?

Commissioners could still put in a gas tax or try again to pass a sales tax in the years to come to fund these improvements. 

(© 2016 WTSP)


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