NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (TBO.com) — With everyone from homeowner groups to chambers of commerce lining up to oppose plans for an elevated toll road on the State Road 54/56 corridor, Pasco commissioners probably don’t need a countywide survey to gauge public support for the $2 billion project. But they’re going to get one.
Commissioners agreed to include a question regarding the controversial toll road project on this year’s annual citizen survey, which will be mailed to 1,600 random households and posted on the county website. Each year, commissioners include a question concerning a local, hot-button issue — last year it was the proposed gas tax increase.
The toll road question is titled “S.R. 54/56 Potential Improvement Options for Year 2035.” It goes on to explain that over the next two decades, the state highway will need to be widened beyond its current six-lane configuration — even if the county widens S.R. 52 and County Line Road and builds the Ridge Road extension.
“The opportunities to construct additional parallel roadways as alternatives to improving S.R. 54/56 are limited or non-existent. In addition, Pasco County is not projected to have the density or intensity of land uses to support passenger rail along the S.R. 54/56 corridor,” it reads.
The question gives residents seven options, ranging from buying enough land to build eight or more lanes along the corridor, building elevated overpasses at key intersections such as U.S. 41 — similar to U.S. 19 in Pinellas County, keeping the road six lanes and building the elevated toll road in the median — the proposal currently being studied by a private consortium “FL54 Xpress.”