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.


$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:, Times archives

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