Editorial: No plans, no funds, no roads

Traffic in Tampa and New Tampa continues to worsen all the time. The commute down Bruce B. Downs Blvd. anytime, excluding the window from midnight until 5:55 a.m., becomes a lesson in futility, with vehicles eagerly inching forward, one on top of the other. This is just an example of the traffic problem overwhelming Tampa’s roadways each day. Counties receive a portion of state funding for projects that are ready to begin next year.

Underdeveloped road projects seem to cause the lack of revenue for road improvements. The only way to get the revenue is to get the road projects in order and planned out soon.

The Senate Transportation Committee issued Palm Beach County $156 million for road projects. Meanwhile, Hillsborough County received a skimpy $1.1 million for road projects over the next year. Pinellas County received $2 million for guardrails on I-275. This hardly covers the improvements desperately required for a functional infrastructure. The reason for the scant financing falls in the lap of project developers. The Tampa Bay Area had only two minor projects slated and approved for the next year. With $668 million up for grabs from the state, the project developers need to get the major projects ready to go by the distribution period next year. These include the widening of Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Dale Mabry Highway and the downtown interchange improvement.

Every day, thousands of cars inch forward on interstates and other major arteries in Tampa and St. Petersburg. With cars only able to travel a distance of eight miles in 30 minutes, as in New Tampa, during the morning and evening commutes, the plans for road expansion or subsidization need to be ready for presentation to the committee as soon as possible. More money and better planning need to come into play to get these major projects off the ground to eliminate such traffic.