There is no disagreement that Old Pasco Road should be widened to four lanes.
But, the timing and funding for such a project got mixed reactions from Pasco County commissioners who approved a new business park on the mostly two-lane roadway.
Approximately 90 acres on Old Pasco will be the site for the county-initiated project, known as Overpass Business Park.
Commissioners did include a condition to require developers to widen the road from the park’s entrance, north to Overpass Road.
The park is less than a half mile southeast of the intersection of Overpass and Old Pasco.
Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore pushed to widen the entire length – nearly two miles – of Old Pasco. Or, at least, he said it should be widened as far as Oakley Boulevard.
“I’m by no means against the project,” Moore said.
But, Old Pasco “needs to widened all the way through before we move forward with any actual project.”
The vote to approve was 3 to 1, with Moore the dissenting voter.
Pasco County Commission Chairman Mike Wells Jr., was absent from the May 22 meeting in New Port Richey.
Other county commissioners worried that a requirement to widen the entire road would be too limiting.
“I just don’t see why we would force ourselves onto a condition when we don’t know what (project) will come before us,” said Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey. “We’re tying our hands.”
Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano agreed.
He said the county would lose flexibility in attracting projects.
“We want to be able to move quickly when opportunities come forward,” he said.
The park is part of a county-driven effort to diversify the types of businesses and industries that are attracted to Pasco.
The land will be made site-ready, and marketed to prospective developers who will pitch their proposals to the county.
Starkey had a suggestion on funding for the road widening.
She cited an article in the magazine, Florida Trend, about a federal grant to Alachua County for a road project, aimed at boosting economic growth.
County officials said they already were working on an application to submit for a state grant.
Two other road projects are on tap to enhance Old Pasco at its intersection with State Road 52, and with Quail Hollow Boulevard.
County commissioners recently approved about $2.2 million for pavement reconstruction starting about 1,450 feet south of State Road 52, a sidewalk, stormwater, pond construction, signage and turn lanes.
The Florida Department of Transportation is in the midst of a major road widening project at State Road 52 and the Interstate 75 interchange.
In 2019, the county plans to begin intersection improvements for Old Pasco and Quail Hollow Boulevard.
Published May 30, 2018