Federal Highway Administration 2018-2020 Pilot Program: Resilience and Durability to Extreme Weather
The Tampa Bay region is one of the most inundation-vulnerable areas in the country, experiencing frequent storm events and persistent flooding. The Hillsborough MPO, in collaboration with the Pinellas and Pasco MPOs, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, and the Florida Department of Transportation District 7, was awarded a Federal Highway Administration Resilience and Durability to Extreme Weather grant to study this problem and integrate solutions into each MPO’s 2045 Transportation Plan (LRTP). Recent federal requirements state that LRTPs must work on “improving the resiliency and reliability of the transportation system and reducing or mitigating the stormwater impacts of surface transportation …” This pilot project assists in meeting the mandate and providing new data to the three MPOs as they prioritize projects.
The project found that 20% of major roads in our county could be washed out in a Category 3 storm, factoring in the sea level rise predicted for the next two decades. Pinellas is even more vulnerable, at 57%. In a severe rainfall event, 11% of our roads could be affected by inland flooding. The study recommended that in Hillsborough we should increase our countywide investment in stormwater projects by about half (approximately $22 million per year) and should nearly double our investment in road resurfacing, hardening pavement and sub-base and preserving shorelines (~$72 million per year). If crucial roads are impassible after a severe storm, the impact to our economic recovery reaches a break-even point, compared to the cost of these improvements, at about 2 ½ weeks. These cost estimates include expenses of all local and state governments and transportation agencies operating in our county.
Allison Yeh, firstname.lastname@example.org, 813.273.3774 x351