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Briefs: Pasco protests rising cost of shelter
By Times Staff writer
Published March 11, 2008
Nearly two years ago, Pasco County secured up to $7.6-million to build a regional hurricane shelter that could withstand winds up to 160 mph.
Then last November, the Federal Emergency Management Agency began requiring that hurricane shelters nationwide meet wind speeds up to 200 mph.
That could add another $4.2-million to the cost of the Hudson shelter, but the federal government isn't doling out any extra dollars.
So state legislators and emergency management officials are now arguing the Hudson shelter should be exempt from those stiffer design standards, which they say applies more to severe tornadoes, not hurricanes.
"In the middle of the game, they've changed the rules," said state Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey. "We've not ever seen storms come through at 200 mph."
Racetrack Road im-provements: Hillsborough County is planning to widen a portion of Race Track Road to six lanes and realign the new highway around the west side of Tampa Bay Downs.
That's welcome news, Oldsmar Mayor Jim Ronecker said recently after hearing plans for the project. "The improvements are going to help," he said. "They're just not going to happen soon enough." It will likely be 2010 before all the construction work is finished.
State road 56 extension to begin: The long-awaited extension of State Road 56 east of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard will kick off with a groundbreaking ceremony March 19. The road will take 1 1/2 years to build. It will serve as the primary entrance for the $130-million Shops at Wiregrass mall, and eventually reach Meadow Pointe Boulevard. Forest City Enterprises, the mall's developer, is paying for the road.