County Commissioner Les Miller, Chair of the Hillsborough MPO and the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC), recently discussed the importance of preparing our roads and transit for extreme weather events on the award winning television series, Innovations with Ed Begley, Jr. The program will air on the Discovery Channel in May 2015 and on FOX Business in June/July 2015. Hillsborough County transportation infrastructure consists of over 4100 miles of roads, Tampa International Airport, Port Tampa Bay, and U.S. Central Command at MacDill AFB. Many of these assets are in flood prone areas and may be more vulnerable with future sea level changes.
The MPO’s pilot study focused on the year 2040, estimated that the storm surge associated with a Category 3 Hurricane could cause catastrophic disruption to transportation throughout the region, resulting in losses of over $100 million in Gross Regional Product and over 2 million lost work hours per week, for up to 8 weeks. Keeping these assets functioning is important to maintaining the quality of life for our residents and to the safety and economic vitality of the region. Preservation strategies have now been incorporated into the Long Range Transportation Plan.
Funded with a special grant from Federal Highway Administration, the MPO study was one of many efforts underway in the Tampa Bay area. The Hillsborough County EPC and Local Mitigation Strategy Working Group, Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Tampa Bay Water, Tampa Bay Climate Science Advisory Panel, One Bay Resilient Community’s Work Group and US Department of Homeland Security are also working together to identify, address, and mitigate a variety of potential hazards that could affect the county’s residents and businesses. Tune in to hear Commissioner Miller discuss more about mitigation efforts related to resiliency and extreme weather. For more information, contact Allison Yeh at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813/273-3774 x351.