Saving bridge adds up
Published Friday, August 7, 2009
Do the math — and keep in mind that Florida so far ranks last in receiving federal stimulus dollars per person — and the answer is pretty clear: Pinellas County should join the Hillsborough County Commission in seeking federal stimulus dollars to save the Friendship Trail Bridge, the only pedestrian- and bike-friendly way to cross Tampa Bay.
BY THE NUMBERS:
$2 million: Extra cost to restore bridge for 10 years ($15 million) versus demolishing it ($13 million)
6 million: Estimated number of users over 10 years
33 cents: Cost per user to restore instead of demolish bridge
$553.20: Federal stimulus dollars flowing to Florida, per person
82 cents: Cost per Floridian if stimulus funds cover total cost of bridge restoration
Bottom line: We could charge each user 33 cents to cover the additional cost of restoring the Friendship Trail Bridge. But as long as the federal government is giving out money — and Florida hasn't gotten its fair share — why not ask Washington to send another 82 cents per Floridian down to Tampa Bay to save a significant amenity for walkers, cyclists, skaters and anglers?
Sources: WSJ.com, Times archives