SARASOTA -- The Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization was created to develop transportation plans and programs which encourage and promote the implementation of transportation modes that move people and goods. Every year they deliver their priority want-list to the state and federal legislatures with hopes of getting the tools they need to best serve the State of Florida. At Monday's meeting, the MPO board announced this year's list.
MPO Priority List for the 2014 State Legislature
1 -- Opposition to any legislation that would restrict or eliminate local revenue options that fund transportation operations
2 -- Restore and protect transportation trust funds, and restore funding to Transportation Regional Incentive Program (TRIP) and County Incentive Grant Program (CIGP)
3 -- Support legislation authorizing FDOT to advance projects
4 -- Support legislation to raise transportation revenues as recommended by the MPO advisory council (MPOAC)
5 -- Support innovative alternative forms of transportation such as the Gulf of Mexico M-10 (Short Sea Shipping Program) between Port of Manatee and the Port of Brownsville and multimodal improvements, including public transportation
6 -- Consolidate Tampa bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) and Chairs Coordinating Committee (CCC) of west central Florida
There are currently several different local option taxes levied on a per-gallon basis. Many of these local taxes aren't indexed to the CPI as is State Fuel Sales Tax. This could generate millions of dollars annually needed for highway infrastructure.
Investing in alternative modes of transport, like bike and pedestrian trails and advanced management systems would save on infrastructure maintenance dollars.
MPO Priority list for the 2014 Federal Legislature
1 -- Reduce unnecessary federal regulations to lower project cost and expedite project construction
2 -- Support a more equitable rate of return on federal gas tax revenues to the State of Florida of 95 percent as passed in Map-21
3 -- Continue efforts to consolidate transportation funding streams to increase flexibility and improve efficiency
4 -- Support continued investment for Port Manatee, a deepwater port that is strategically located as the closest deepwater cargo port in the United States to the Panama Canal and Cuba, including the M-10 Short Sea Shipping Program
The Sarasota/Manatee MPO area encompasses the entire counties of Sarasota and Manatee, nine cities, the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and Port Manatee Seaport with a estimated population in Sarasota of 389,320 and 318,404 in Manatee