November 2017 – The Hillsborough MPO partnered with the Polk TPO to create the Hillsborough + Polk Freight Logistics Zone Strategic Plan (FLZ) in cooperation with numerous local governments and agencies. The FLZ Plan is important to our county given Hillsborough is situated on Tampa Bay at the I-4/I-75 junction – the freight gateway to West Central Florida. Freight and logistics related businesses provide living-wage jobs, and there are over 150,000 jobs today in the FLZ area, with potential to double over the next twenty years.
On October 4, the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners approved a resolution adopting the FLZ Plan, as it serves as a tool to compete for funding for freight related projects. The Polk County BOCC adopted the FLZ Strategic Plan and designated the FLZ during their October 17 board meeting. “We appreciated the opportunity to partner on this project. It worked out very well.” said Tom Deardorff, AICP, Assistant County Manager – Planning and Development and Executive Director of the Polk Transportation Planning Organization.
The recommendations of the Strategic Plan are already winning funding! One key recommendation is addressing a bottleneck just east of Port Tampa Bay’s main facility, where rail crosses US 41 and blocks traffic for up to 5 hours a day. Championed by FDOT District 7, this project competed nationally and now is fully funded with the support of the National Highway Freight Program, demonstrating how working together can bring success.
In addition, the Florida Department of Transportation District 7 was selected to receive funding for most of the National Highway Freight Program (NHFP) Projects they’ve applied for this year, including the I-75 southbound rest area truck parking expansion and the I-75 northbound on-ramp from US 301. Based on the original selections, District 7 received the most funding in the state and was able to fund every project submitted.
For more information contact Lisa Silva, AICP, PLA or view the FLZ Plan.