The board of the Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is sending a letter to the Pasco County legislative delegation and to Gov. Ron DeSantis seeking additional funding for the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), to support traffic enforcement on the county’s state roads.
The action came at the MPO board’s Feb. 10 meeting, during a discussion of speeding problems within the county.
Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore raised the issue, noting a recent crash involving two students who were racing — that resulted in two fatalities.
“This is more and more common,” said Moore, who serves on the MPO board.
“I hear it where I live. I hear them racing in the middle of the night,” Moore said.
He also noted that he drives to Tampa once or twice a week and always sees troopers from the Florida Highway Patrol on the interstate.
By contrast, Moore said. “I’ve not seen them ever on the state roads in Pasco County, e.g., (State Road) 54, (State Road) 56, (State Road) 52, (U.S.) 41.
“We just had a fatality on (U.S.) 41 last week, as well,” Moore said.
He wants to work with the Florida Department of Transportation and the Florida Highway Patrol to have FHP redirect resources to beef up enforcement on state roads within Pasco.
Moore noted that Pasco residents are concerned, too.
“I’m getting a lot of emails from constituents, around the Wesley Chapel area, because of this,” Moore said.
If FHP beefed up its speeding enforcement on State Roads 52, 54 and 56, as well as U.S. 41, the number of citations it issues would go through the roof, Moore said.
Pasco County Commission Chairman Kathryn Starkey, who also serves on the MPO board, said the speeding problem came up during a meeting she’d had the prior day with Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco and with County Administrator Dan Biles.
Starkey said she subsequently discussed the problem with David Gwynn, secretary of FDOT’s District Seven, which includes Pasco County.
A meeting on the speeding issue is being organized, Starkey said.
She told her MPO colleagues that during those discussions she learned that the troopers working the interstate are different from the ones who work within Pasco County.
Gina Torres, a transportation planner for the MPO, told the board that she knows that the FHP office working in Pasco is stretched thin.
She said she did a ride-along for an entire day and, essentially, the trooper went from crash to crash to crash.
Starkey urged her MPO board colleagues to support Moore’s motion for additional funding to increase FHP enforcement.
To put it simply, Starkey said: “This would save lives.”
The Pasco County MPO is the lead transportation planning agency in Pasco County that serves the following municipalities in Pasco: Zephyrhills, San Antonio, St. Leo, New Port Richey, Port Richey and Dade City.
Its board is made up of elected leaders from Pasco County, Zephyrhills, Dade City, New Port Richey and Port Richey.
Published February 16, 2022
When I moved here 33 years ago this was not an issue. I moved here for the tranquility and the best neighborhoods.. The seniors are afraid to drive since so many drivers are either texting, careless and speeding.. The traffic has become a crisis. We don’t want the issue to be addressed after the accidental deaths of so many. We need something action not promises.