Pasco County recently was awarded the 1000 Friends of Florida's Better Community Award for adopting the mobility fee to pay for new roads, sidewalks and transit, according to a press release. The award was presented at the Board of County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 7, in Dade City.
"Pasco County is to be commended for taking important steps to direct growth away from undeveloped areas and toward urban centers while providing its citizens with more transportation options," 1000 Friends President and CEO Charles Pattison said in the release.
"The Pasco mobility fee is a funding source and growth management/economic
development tool, and supports larger County strategies," Pasco County's Chief Assistant County Attorney David Goldstein said in the release.
According to the press release, the fee will help the county:
- Reduce infrastructure costs by focusing growth where infrastructure exists
- or is planned;
- Ensure needed transportation infrastructure is in place to make the county attractive to new employers;
- Encourage compact design in urban areas to preserve open space,
- environmentally sensitive land, and agricultural land;
- Rely more on alternate modes of travel that improve public health and reduce energy consumption and commuting costs; and
- Provide housing options that are less auto-dependent.
Pasco County and the Pasco Economic Development Council began working on the process in 2010, the release stated. They commissioned a mobility fee study and worked to lower fees and streamline regulations and permitting, particularly for office andlight industrial development. A primary goal is to make the county more economically competitive by creating jobs and redirecting growth in a way that's healthier for the county.
"This has been a major effort to link a series of planning policy opportunities into a system of incentive choices," Planning and Growth Management Administrator Richard Gehring said in the release.
According to the release, supporters of the mobility fee system include the Tampa Bay Builders Association, Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA), andCenter for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR), and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).