Land O’ Lakes is experiencing unprecedented growth as more residential and commercial ventures pop up, especially northward along U.S. 41. But, one item that isn’t seen in the area is public bus transit.
Pasco County commissioners are preparing to change that by adding a circulator bus route to its list of capital improvement projects for fiscal year 2017.
On April 12, commissioners directed staff members to craft a business plan for operating the route.
Commissioners will review the proposal, along with other projects, when they begin discussions in summer for the 2017 budget.
Estimated costs for the route include an annual operating budget of about $300,000, plus a one-time purchase of a bus at a cost of about $110,000.
The circulator route currently is on the county’s unfunded capital improvement list. Funding for the circulator route could come from the county’s tax increment financing, which directs a portion of property tax revenues to community-based projects.
“We are getting a lot of requests from Land O’ Lakes,” said Philip Pumphrey, the county’s public transportation manager.
The proposed route would have stops on North Dale Mabry Highway at Target and Walmart.
Moving north along U.S. 41, bus stops would include the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Department of Health, Land O’ Lakes Community Center, the post office, Wilderness Commons Plaza, Land O’ Lakes High School, the Pasco County school district headquarters, and the detention center.
Buses also would follow a loop east on State Road 54 to Collier Commons and the Land O’ Lakes library.
Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore suggested adding as many stops as possible at government buildings.
“I think about how this is a major corridor, and we don’t have services there. The area is growing by leaps and bounds. Now we have a chance to correct that and make something happen,” he said.
Pasco County Commissioner Ted Schrader likes the concept, but he wants to see cost data on this and other proposed projects.
“Before I support this, I want to know exactly what is going to be impacted,” he said. “I just want to make it clear this commissioner has concerns about where the money is going to come from. I do have concerns when we start talking about cutting other capital concerns.”
Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano looked ahead to the potential for the route to connect to bus service in Hernando County. “I think that’s a huge opportunity as well,” he said. “This line is so important to the future.”
Bus routes along State Road 54, and in the Moon Lake area of New Port Richey, will see more immediate improvements with the arrival of new buses.
Two-hour waits between buses will drop to one hour on State Road 54 on July 18. The Moon Lake area also will get expanded service on Dec. 5.
Published April 20, 2016