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TAC supports state Route 78 rights of way acquisition

By Staff | Mar 16, 2011

With a funding mechanism for rights of way acquisition along state Route 78 now in place, all that’s left is for City Council to approve those funds in the coming weeks.
The Transportation Advisory Commission — whose members also sit on council — voiced their support for the project Wednesday.
The full City Council will hear a presentation Monday and could vote as early as the following week.
Acting Transportation Mana-ger Persides Zambrano said the city can utilize a State Infrastruc-ture Bank loan, with an interest rate of 3 percent.
The city will borrow $14 million for right of way acquisition and the state will pay $17 million for right of way.
Zambrano said the state will use the entirety of its $17 million prior to dipping into the city’s $14 million.
The city will advance the necessary funds to the Florida Department of Transportation, and will have the principal paid back through the Metropolitan Planning Organization at a rate of $5 million a year.
The city will only be responsible for roughly $2 million in interest fee payments.
Funding for the construction portion is still pending, but Zambrano said the city could seek another SIB loan for construction, and would equate to roughly $1.8 million in interest payments.
In total, Cape Coral’s “maximum exposure” would cost $4.8 million in interest payments for both right of way acquisition and construction.
The city was previously looking at $54 million in associated interest and fees for the project.
“The city reduced its expense tremendously,” Zambrano said.
State Route 78, or Pine Island Road, between Chiquita Boulevard and Burnt Store is the area where the work will be conducted.
Zambrano said a “serious developer” is looking to develop a tract of land along that stretch of SR 78.
Interim Public Works Director Steve Neff said the state “tried and tried” for rights of way donations through the years but came up short because no development was happening along the corridor.
With the funding mechanism structured in a very particular way, Zambrano said it is crucial that the City Council support the action and move forward with the funding structure once in comes before them.
“If we don’t get this done now, our fear is we won’t get this funded until 2020,” she added.
If construction funding comes through sooner than later, the project could be under way as early as 2013, according to Zambrano.
In other news from Wednesday’s Transportation Advisory Commission, Lee County is planning to relocate traffic signals near the intersection of Del Prado Boulevard and Cape Coral Parkway.
Lee County Department of Transpor-tation staff will move the signals from Southeast 47th Terrace and Southeast 46th Street to Southeast 46th Lane and Southeast 44th Street.
Currently in the design phase and funded, the project is scheduled for spring of 2012.