PACA gives a big no to elevated toll road

In a move that is not necessarily surprising, the Pasco Alliance of Community Associations has come out against a proposed elevated toll road in the State Road 54/56 corridor.

John Copeland, PACA’s president, presented the group’s decision to Pasco County Commissioner chair Jack Mariano in a letter Wednesday, saying they are “opposed to this solution.”

PACA represents 60,000 residents living in homeowners associations, condominium associations and community development district-managed communities.

“Most of these residents reside along the 54/56 corridor and feel they will be adversely affected by an elevated toll road on 54/56,” Copeland said in his letter. “Our membership believes that more suitable solutions can be found and that not enough consideration has been given to possible alternatives.”

International Infrastructure Partners has proposed a private venture estimated by some to cost $2.2 billion that would build a 33-mile elevated toll road from U.S. 301 in Zephyrhills to U.S. 19 in New Port Richey.

A group of residents living along the State Road 54/56 corridor have organized against the project, speaking out at recent meetings hosted by the county. However, it is ultimately up to the Florida Department of Transportation to make a final decision, although officials there say they won’t proceed without the blessing of the county.

PACA was created in 2007 as a way to bring together a number of civic associations in Pasco County. Its next meeting April 10 will welcome Richard Gehring from the county government, who will present details about the proposed elevated toll road. That meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Land O’ Lakes Community Center, 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd.

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