A $675,000 study will examine seasonal traffic on the barrier islands but local money is needed to help pay for the study.
A $675,000 seasonal traffic study that’s going to analyze traffic in both Manatee and Sarasota counties is going to need some local money to get it done.
Longboat Key Commissioner Jack Daly informed Metropolitan Planning Organization Executive Director David Hutchinson in an email Thursday that the MPO, which is made up of elected officials in both counties, should be prepared to support the study financially at its Jan. 25 meeting next week.
Daly is proposing Hutchinson propose to the MPO next week that it considers paying for 20% of the project, or $135,000, of the estimated $675,000 project.
“As a follow up of my recent discussions pursuing FDOT funding with Secretary Billy Hattaway, please be prepared to again update the MPO Board next Monday on potential MPO supporting funding sources and priorities for the study,” Daly wrote to Hutchinson. “While the secretary will probably not have an answer for us on Monday, my discussions with him clearly indicate that any FDOT funding will necessitate some ‘local skin in the game’ funding by the MPO.”
Daly said in the email it appears to him that FDOT “is taking ownership of the study and that, while the secretary is diligently pursuing potential state funding sources, if he is to be successful, some level of MPO local funding will substantially enhance the prospects of FDOT funding. “
Town Manager Dave Bullock and Mayor Jack Duncan urged the MPO and FDOT to take ownership of the traffic problem and perform a study last April.
The town is working on several fronts to alleviate seasonal traffic, especially because four hotel projects will be underway in 2016 in downtown Sarasota that will add to beach traffic upon completion.
Bullock says if the Sarasota-Manatee area can’t manage traffic more efficiently in season, it’s in danger of losing both tourists and residents to areas that can.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].