The board of the Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has approved a request by the Florida Department of Transportation aimed at making progress on a widening project on U.S. 98.
The Florida Department of Transportation asked the local MPO to amend its Transportation Improvement Plan to include right of way and design funding for the widening of U.S. 98, from U.S. 301 South to U.S. 301 North, from a two-lane road to a four-lane road.
Funding for the work will not affect the Pasco County MPO, but would come from state and federal sources, according to background materials in the MPO board’s Feb. 10 agenda packet.
The FDOT notified the Pasco MPO staff on Jan. 10, 2021, regarding additional funding to advance the project.
The project is designed to support economic development by improving access for movement of goods, connections to transportation facilities and major activity centers.
It also aims to improve safety by reducing fatal and serious crashes.
This proposed amendment will be posted on the MPO’s website, PascoMPO.net, where the public is welcome to submit comments.
In another action, the Pasco MPO board approved a new way to add and rank projects on its priority list.
The Pasco MPO is the lead agency in transportation planning, and its board is made up of elected officials from Pasco County, Dade City, Zephyrhills, New Port Richey and Port Richey.
Under the new system, there will be a separate priority list for bicycle and pedestrian improvements.
The new method also assigns numerical scores to rank the projects, based on points received in specific categories.
Proposed bicycle and pedestrian projects will be ranked based on the total number of points they receive in the following categories: safety and security; mobility and connectivity; economic development; project readiness and project longevity.
Proposed road improvements will be ranked upon the total of points they receive in these categories: safety and security; mobility and connectivity; freight movement and economic development; project readiness and project longevity.
In other action, the board:
• Moved forward $600,000 in funds that will be unspent by the end of fiscal year 2022, so it can be spent in fiscal year 2023.
• Reappointed Lance Smith as chairman of the MPO board and appointed Matt Murphy as vice chairman. Each will serve a one-year term.
Published February 23, 2022
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