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Thursday, Oct 19, 2017
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Penny for Pasco could help tie Pinellas, Starkey trails

ODESSA - A new safety group is taking its first steps toward improving conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists, with the prospect of a link between trails in Pinellas and Pasco counties. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee is scheduled to discuss connecting the Pinellas and Starkey trails during a meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. The meeting at Odessa Elementary School, 12810 Interlaken Road, is open to the public. Other topics on the agenda include Pasco's Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, protected bike lanes and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics. BPAC will make recommendations to the Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization, which sets transportation priorities within the county. MPO members also reviewed the trail link proposal Oct. 11.
The extension of the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail likely would follow East Lake Road to hook into an extension of the trail that leads to Starkey Wilderness Park and beyond. Penny for Pasco sales tax revenue could pay for the project. Voters first would have to approve renewing Penny for Pasco for another 10 years on the Nov. 6 ballot. Penny for Pasco adds one percent onto the local sales tax rate to help build schools, roads and other projects. The county has earmarked Penny for Pasco funds toward trails and similar improvements if the tax is extended to 2024. In the meantime, MPO staffers are finalizing details for a contract to hire experts to study the best alignments for trail extensions. Among issues might be Progress Energy Florida rights of way. The contract could be ready to go out for bid within 30 to 45 days.

corth@suncoastnews.com (727) 815-1068
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